The U.S. men’s ice hockey team proved itself a contender at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with a tournament-opening shootout win over Canada on Friday in Denmark.
Cam Atkinson scored both goals for the U.S. in the shootout to give the red, white and blue a 5-4 win following a back-and-forth game against their rivals to the north. Dylan Larkin scored a pair of goals for the U.S. in regulation, along with one each from Anders Lee and Johnny Gaudreau. Along with two-time Olympian and team captain Patrick Kane, all are expected to help provide the U.S. a strong offensive presence in the 16-team tournament.
After Canada took a 2-0 lead in the first period, the U.S. battled back and the game was close from that point forward.
Lee answered Canada’s second goal almost immediately, scoring at 13:59 of the first period, and Larkin tied it, 2-2, early in the second. Ten minutes later, Gaudreau gave Team USA its first lead, but Canada’s Anthony Beauvillier would score before the period was over to send it to the third tied, 3-3.
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The U.S. took the lead again in the third on Larkin's second goal of the game only to see Canada tie it again seven minutes later. When nothing was decided in overtime, the game went to a shootout.
Canada is seeking its third gold in four years after losing to Sweden in the final game of last year's tournament.
The U.S., which is coached by Jeff Blashill for the second straight year, next faces Denmark at 2:15 p.m. EST on Saturday. All games will be broadcast on the NHL Network.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.