HERNING, Denmark – Jordan Eberle (Regina, Sask./New York Islanders, NHL) scored the lone Canadian shootout goal, and the United States topped Canada’s National Men’s Team in the opening game of the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
The back-and forth affair saw the two teams trade goals throughout the game. The U.S. took a 4-3 lead early in the third on Dylan Larkin’s second goal of the game, but Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alta/St. Louis, NHL) answered back for Canada less than 10 minutes later; wiring home a cross ice pass from Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Edmonton, NHL) to even the game at 4-4.
Cam Atkinson’s two goals in the shootout were the difference – only Eberle was able to solve Keith Kinkaid – and the Americans came away with the 5-4 shootout win.
Canada struck first; Pierre-Luc Dubois (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que./Columbus, NHL) firing home a Bo Horvat (London, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) pass less than a minute into the first period. Just over 10 minutes later, Josh Bailey (Bowmanville, Ont./New York Islanders, NHL) was denied on the doorstep, but Ryan O’Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) was there to bang in the rebound and stretch the Canadian lead to 2-0. Anders Lee got one back for the U.S., and the first ended with Canada up 2-1.
Goals from Dylan Larkin and Johnny Gaudreau in the second gave the Americans the lead in the second. The lead was shortlived as Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel-Tracy, Que./New York Islanders, NHL) got the rebound on an Aaron Ekblad (Windsor, Ont./Florida, NHL) point shot to knot the game back up 3-3.
The two teams traded goals again in the third to force overtime. Canada had chances in the extra frame, including on the power play with Blake Coleman of the U.S. in the box for holding, but couldn’t get one past Kinkaid. The American netminder was nearly perfect in the shootout, allowing only Eberle’s goal in the second round.
The Canadians are back in action Sunday when they take on Korea in the second of seven preliminary games (6:15 a.m. ET/3:15 a.m. PT).
“I thought our whole team game will get better. We got a little bit of everything today, we had some 3-on-3, we had a 4-on-3 power play, a 4-on-3 penalty kill and those situations you usually don’t get right off the hop. We had a lot of different scenarios that we lived through in game one. We had really good comments on the bench, guys weren’t happy the way we were playing, how loose we were and how unstructured we were through the neutral zone. We have to do a much better job in transition from offence to defence.”
– Bill Peters, head coach, Team Canada
“Obviously it’s disappointing and we’re disappointed in ourselves, but it’s a good wake-up call. This is a never an easy tournament [it’s my sixth one] and each one is different and we have to find a new way to do it. We just played a good team and they’re only going to get better too. We have to grow our game, it’s a good lesson for us and we have to go to work tomorrow and get better.”
–Ryan O’Reilly, on takeaways from the game