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Canada Defeats Europe in Game 1 of World Cup Final

Can clinch championship on Thursday

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Canada's World (Cup of Hockey) domination is almost complete.

Team Canada topped Team Europe 3-1 in the first game of the World Cup final on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Canada will have a chance to clinch the championship on Thursday in the second contest of the series.

The Canadians have gone 11-0 in a best-on-best format since the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. That record doesn't include the country's two World Championship titles the past two years, where it has won 19 of 20 contests.

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene had two shots and a hit in 9:25 of ice time. He played on a line with Joe Thornton and Ryan O'Reilly.

Brad Marchand opened the game's scoring just 2:33 into the first period, and Steven Stamkos gave Canada a 2-0 advantage going into the intermission with his tally at 13:20.

Tomas Tatar, who scored the overtime-winner in his two-goal performance over Sweden in the semifinals on Sunday, found the back of the net for Europe seven minutes into the middle frame, but Patrice Bergeron stretched Canada's lead back to two midway in the third period with his first tally of the tournament.

Canada outshot Europe 38-33, with goalie Carey Price making 32 saves. Europe netminder Jaroslav Halak stopped 35 shots.

The second game of the best-of-three series is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. MT in Toronto. It will be televised live in the U.S. on ESPN2.

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