TORONTO, ON - In a surprising upset, Team Europe blanked the Americans 3-0 in game one of World Cup of Hockey 2016.
It all began with a beautiful feed by Frans Nielsen past the face of goaltender Jonathan Quick and on the tape of Marian Gaborik back door. That goal, at 4:19 of the first put Europe ahead 1-0.
The youngster, Leon Draisaitl, made it a 2-0 game on a 2-on-0. Leon skated down the right wing with the puck and fed Nino Niederreiter a pass on the other side of Quick. Niederreiter sauced it back to Draisaitl who, with Quick trying to get back, potted his first of the tournament. At 4:02 of the second, Team Europe had some cushion.
"I think, all in all, it was just a good shift. It was a good play by (Tobias Rieder) to chip it up the wall and then it was a nice play by Nino,” said Draisaitl.
Draisaitl finished the game with 7:15 TOI and 2:03 on the power play.
It appeared as though Team USA had gotten themselves back in the game later in the second. The puck deflected off James van Riemsdyk’s chest and then off Derek Stepan’s helmet and in. After review, the official called “no goal.”
The official explanation of the rule was that a goal “cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck and it is deflected into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official.”
And so Team USA found themselves in a 3-0 hole at 18:32 of the second. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was the man to give the Europeans more breathing room.
Team Europe goaltender helped out his team with a superb 35-save effort in his first start of the tournament.
“It’s huge for us," said Draisaitl. "I think that from the media and outside we got (named) an underdog, but within the room we know what we’re capable of and we just have to prove it. I think tonight was a good start.”
Team Europe (1-0) next plays Monday against the Czech Republic at 3 p.m. ET. Team USA (0-1) next faces Canada on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.