It wasn’t the start that to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey that Team USA hoped for, falling 3-0 Saturday afternoon to Team Europe in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Team Europe, a select team of players whose European countries are not represented in the tournament, jumped in front in the first period when Marian Gaborik beat U.S. goalkeeper Jonathan Quick on a two-on-one breakaway just 4:19 into the contest. Leon Draisaitl doubled the lead 4:02 into the second period after he picked Patrick Kane’s pocket near the blue line, then bore down on Quick in a two-on-none situation to make the score 2-0.
Team USA appeared to get its first goal 14 minutes into the second period when a loose puck bounced off of James van Riemsdyk and into the goal, but a video review resulted in a ruling that van Riemsdyk had punched the puck into the net. That set the stage for a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare redirect goal on a counterattack that left the U.S. down 3-0 entering the second intermission, a score that stood through the final 20 minutes.
The U.S. wasn’t without scoring opportunities, launching nearly twice as many shots as its opponent (18-10), but the Americans could not find the crack in the armor of Team Europe goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak. Both teams came up empty on two power plays apiece.
Team USA now has some time to regroup before it returns to the ice at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday for a critical matchup with Team Canada before closing out group play on Thursday, Sept. 22, against the Czech Republic.