World Cup of Hockey: Canada coasts, USA struggles

Canada's Sidney Crosby hoists the trophy following his team's victory over Europe in the World Cup of Hockey finals, in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP)

Canada's Sidney Crosby hoists the trophy following his team's victory over Europe in the World Cup of Hockey finals, in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP)

The World Cup of Hockey ended last Thursday night with Team Canada defeating Team Europe 2-1 in Game 2 of the Championship Series. The Canadians went 6-0 in the tournament outscoring opponents 25-8. Canada’s plus-13 goal differential was the largest by any team in the tournament. This is Canada’s second World Cup of Hockey gold medal, the first coming in 2004 in the second-ever rendition of the tournament.

While the Canadians winning should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched international hockey in the past 15 years, the tournament did feature a few interesting storylines, with the biggest being Team USA going 0-3.

When the US released their final tournament roster in May it was met with a sense of dismay. The US had left Kyle Okposo and Phil Kessel, who were sixth and seventh respectively in scoring by Americans in the National Hockey League in 2015-2016. USA General Manager, Dean Lombardi, was quick to defend his roster choices, explaining the team was built to compete with the Canadian team.

Apparently, Lombardi forgot that Team USA also had to play Team Europe and Team Czech Republic in addition to Team Canada. The team opened the tournament with a 3-0 lost to Team Europe, followed by a 4-2 loss to Team Canada in a game that was more of a blowout than the scoreboard showed and ended the tournament losing 4-3 to Team Czech Republic in the final game of pool play. To make matters worse, in the last 15 periods of major world championships dating back to Sochi 2014, the Americans have been outscored 17-5 and shutout in three of those five games.

Even with Team USA’s disappointing showing, American fans did have a reason to cheer during the World Cup of Hockey thanks to Team North America. Team North America was composed of American and Canadian players who were under 23 years old. Team North America went 2-1 with wins over Team Finland and Team Sweden, but did not qualify for the knockout rounds due to a goal differential tiebreaker with Team Russia. The young team gave a great look at what the future holds for Team USA, Team Canada and the future of hockey.

The final surprise of the World Cup of Hockey was Team Europe, who finished 3-3 and was the tournament runner-up. The team was made up of European players who were not Finnish, Swedish or Czech. After the pre-tournament exhibition games, Team Europe looked like they would not win a game, let alone advance to the knockout rounds. Instead, Team Europe opened the tournament with a strong showing dominating Team USA 3-0, and followed it up by defeating Team Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime to advance to the knockout rounds where they defeated Sweden 3-2 in overtime.

The European team ran out of steam in the best-of-three finals matchup against Canada, who beat them 4-1 in pool play. They would go on to lose 3-1 in Game 1 and 2-1 in Game 2.


Jonathan Dupont is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jonathan.dupont@uconn.edu.