Sorry, but if you were doing anything earlier this evening other than watching Team Canada vs. Team USA, you missed out big. In one of the most exciting hockey games I’ve seen in a while, the Canadians and Americans traded chances right up until the final buzzer, with Canada ultimately coming out on top by a score of 5-3.
The rivalry was renewed very early when Canada’s Anthony Duclair crosschecked the USA’s Tyler Motte twice… before the opening faceoff. God, I love Canada vs. USA.
After a few stern words from the officiating staff, the puck would eventually drop, and the Americans would immediately get a couple quality scoring chances. Canada’s Eric Comrie would kick a Motte shot out into the slot, with Jack Eichel gliding in ready to pounce. Comrie would get a blocker on Eichel’s shot, and narrowly avoid a tangled up Darnell Nurse and Alex Tuch, both of whom would end up dislodging the net. This all less than thirty seconds into the game.
For the next 19 minutes, Canada and the States would exchange several quality scoring chances and just about as many big hits, but remain scoreless through one.
In the second period, Max Domi would put Canada on the board first. Streaking down the left side, Domi put himself off balance to complete a sweet toe-drag around American defender Brandon Carlo and throw a tricky shot on net. Thatcher Demko would juggle the rebound, allowing Sam Reinhart to dish it back to Domi for the open net goal.
A few minutes later, as Dylan Larkin sat in the box on an admittedly weak high-sticking call, a Josh Morrissey blast from the point puts Canada up 2-0, beating Demko cleanly on the glove side.
Before the period was through, the States would pull themselves within a goal, with defender Anthony DeAngelo beating a sprawling Comrie on the powerplay.
It was in the third period when things started getting truly insane. After Curtis Lazar would put Canada up 3-1, following a lengthy goal review, the Americans would wake up and mount their comeback effort.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Larkin – one of the best players on the ice all night – would keep the USA’s hopes alive. Following a Dillon Heatherington turnover in Canada’s zone, Larkin would shovel a Hudson Fasching pass behind Comrie to make it 3-2.
Things start getting exciting, and the Bell Centre starts getting mighty anxious. Reinhart would ease the tension momentarily when he buries an empty-netter to put up 4-3, only to have Larkin – again – snap a perfect shot top shelf over Comrie’s glove and restore their one-goal deficit.
Comrie would have to make several more big saves before finally, mercifully, Domi would break away and bury an empty net goal with four seconds left in the game. With his second goal of the night, Domi would secure Canada’s 5-3 victory.
While Sam Reinhart was named Canada’s player of the game, I have to go with Max Domi. His first goal was beautiful, and his second goal sealed the deal. He was always dangerous, always flying at top speed.
Maybe Reinhart did have the best game out of all the Canadian players, but if he did, he did so rather quietly. Domi had a great game and was pretty loud about it, chirping at the American bench, posing after his first marker, and wagging his tongue (I guess that’s a thing now?). I had so much fun watching Domi tonight, so he’s my Maple Warrior.
Off to the Playoffs
With the win, Team Canada will carry a perfect 4-0 record into the playoff rounds, having scored more goals, and allowed fewer goals against than any other team in the tournament. It’s been a damn impressive display of talent, and Team Denmark will be in tough to stop the Canadians in the Quarterfinals. Tune in Friday at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT on TSN1, 3, 4 and 5.
Around The Tournament
The Czech Republic surprising 4-1 win over the Russians this evening certainly make for an interesting set of quarterfinal matchups, much to the dismay of the Americans.
With the Czech win, they will advanced to the quarterfinals and face off against Group A’s Slovakia. Russia will finish third in Group B, meaning they will meet the Americans. No matter the outcome of that game, one of the tournament’s top contenders will be going home much earlier than expected.
Sweden continued its impressive run towards the playoffs, walking all over Switzerland in a 5-1 victory earlier today. The Swedes, like the Canadians, finish the round robin schedule with a perfect 4-0 record and finish atop the Group B standings.
In their quarterfinal game, Sweden will face the winner of the currently underway Finland-Germany matchup. If things continue as expected (Finland is currently up 1-0), it’ll be pretty interesting to see Sweden and Finland face off on Friday afternoon.