The much-anticipated World Cup of Hockey 2016 is ongoing! In this post we will present results from all games as the tournament progresses. The format of the tournament is two groups with four teams. Two teams from each group advances to the semifinals.
World Cup 2016: Playoffs
Finals: Canada 2-0 Team Europe (3-1, 2-1)
There were mixed feelings before the final between Canada and Team Europe: many saw TE as a made-up team without any classic rivalries. There were a lot of empty seats in Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The first game was a sort of sleeping pill where Canada easily outmaneuvered their opponents. Game two was more exciting with Team Europe in the lead with minutes left of the third period. Canada managed to tie the game to 1-1 though, and then they did what they usually do: find a way to win the game. Team Europe got a power play in the end of the period. With 44 seconds to go, Brad Marchand scored; shorthanded! A tough loss for Europe that fought hard in front of a solid performance by Jaroslav Halak in goal. Canada has yet again showed that they are the best team in the world when all the best players participate. They have won Canada Cup / World Cup 6 out of 8 times. Soviet Union won 1981 and USA 1996. The question is what nation can threat them in the future? One suggestion is to create something like The Ryder Cup in Golf – Canada versus The World. Although Canada’s greatness is not just skilled players, they are also well-disciplined, coached, organized and have a certain mentality which might be harder to mimic.
Semifinal 1: Canada – Russia 5-3
Canada came up on top in this classic showdown. Sidney Crosby was the best player on the ice, initiating the goal scoring when Russia made a mistake in the first period. However, Russia woke up in the middle period, tying Canada’s lead and getting the 2-1 advantage. In the end, this was Canada’s game though. 5-3 was the final result.
Semifinal 2: Sweden – Team Europe 2-3 (OT)
Two defensive teams played a careful game which might afterwards be labelled as the most boring match of the tournament. Nicklas Bäckström gave Sweden the lead in the second period just to see Gaborik tie it five minutes before the break. 12 seconds into the third period, Tomas Tatar gave Team Europe the lead. This time, Sweden scored the tie through Erik Karlsson with five minutes left to go. The game went to overtime and Nicklas Bäckström got a great chance to score the decided, just to see the game to the other way. Henrik Lundqvist missed stopping the puck behind his net. Mats Zuccarello found Tatar who could score his second goal of the game, the game winner that eliminated Sweden and sent Team Europe to the final against Canada.
Group stage of the 2016 World Cup
Team North America U23
Except for the “usual suspects”, two mixed teams are participating in the World Cup of Hockey. Team Europe is a mix of the best European players from nations not having a team in the tournament. Team North America U23 consists of young players from Canada and USA.
Czech Republic 4-3 USA
Czech Republic won the last game of the World Cup of 2016 for these two teams USA finished last in group A without a single victory.
Russia 3-0 Finland
Finland had only honor to play for while Russia was looking to secure a spot in the semi final against Canada in this last game of group B. Tarasenko initiated the Russian goal scoring, assisted by Ovechkin. Telegin and Malkin increased the score. Finland now has to go home and think about why they only managed to score one goal in three games…
Canada 4-1 Team Europe
Europe’s winning streak in group A came to an end against Canada, who has dominated the group. However, Europe will advance to the semifinal against Sweden who lost on overtime against the other mixed team of the tournament, but still secured the victory in group B.
Team North America U23 4-3 Sweden (OT)
In the tight group B, Sweden had to get one point in the last game in order to secure the group victory. The Three Crowns got a nasty start of the game, with a 0-2 score after just two minutes played. Team North America played with high speed and aggressive fore check. However, the Swedes looked comfortable in their (slower) game and worked themselves into the game. They managed to reduce the lead to 1-2 just to see 1-3 come on a breakaway. As the game progressed, Sweden got more pressure in their offensive zone and before the third period, the lead was cut down to 2-3. Patrik Berglund tied the game with 6:50 left of the third period, The game went to overtime in the format three-on-three. It was an exciting showdown where team North America draw the longest straw. However, Sweden won group B through the tie after 60 minutes and North America have to rely on a Finnish victory against Russia in the last game. If Russia wins, they are through to the semifinal.
Sweden 2-0 Finland
A classic Nordic rival showdown between two countries that know each other inside and out. Finland was pressured to win after the loss in the first game against North America. They played a desperate game but failed to convert. Henrik Lundqvist made some great saves in the Swedish goal and Anton Strålman scored 1-0 for the Three Crowns in the middle of the second period. 2-0 was scored by Loui Eriksson in the open net. However, there is still a theoretical chance that Finland can reach semifinal, depending on the results in the last round. Sweden will win the group if they get at least 1 point against Team North America in the last game, however, if they lose, they might be eliminated despite two victories. That is how tough the World Cup of Hockey 2016 is!
Canada 4-2 USA
USA could not afford another loss after losing the first game against Team Europe. They also got the best start with a 1-0 lead after four minutes of play. Canada turned the game around with two goals in 14 seconds and the final score was 4-2 in favor of Team Canada. USA is now eliminated from the World Cup, which is, of course, a big fiasco.
Team Europe 3-2 Czech Republic (OT)
The tournament’s first win in overtime came through German player Leon Draisaitl’s stick, assisted by Norwegian Mats Zuccarello. The score means that Team Europe and Canada will battle for the group win in the last round while Czech Republic together with Team USA are eliminated.
Russia 4-3 Team North America U23
After losing the first game against Sweden, Russia followed up with a win against North America. A goal explosion in the second period gave Russia the important win. Group B is now a very open tale.
Team North America U23 4-1 Finland
The young North American players played with speed and energy against what appeared to be jet-lagged Finns.
Sweden 2-1 Russia
Sweden had not defeated Russia in a competition game since 2004 according to the statistics, however, the only time they have faced each other was in the group stage of the 2006 Olympics. Then, Russia won in the group stage, but Sweden advanced to the final where they defeated Finland to win the gold. Sweden played a disciplined game all over the ice in this opening game. In the first period, no team could create much offense. However, as time passed, Sweden got more and more puck possession, forcing Russia into box play where Gabriel Landeskog gave Three Crowns the 1-0 lead, followed by an offensive rush from defenseman Victor Hedman leading to 2-0, two minutes later in the second period. Sweden were then in full control of the game until the last minute. Russia pulled their goalkeeper and Alexander Ovechkin managed to score 1-2 with 33 seconds to go. Ovechkin was close to score the equalizer as well but he used his glove instead of his stick which meant a no-goal call.
Team Europe 3-0 USA
The mixed European team unexpectedly won against team USA who know has to beat Canada in the next game in order to have a chance to reach the semifinal. A tough task for sure. It will be interesting to see how Team Europe progresses through the tournament!
Canada 6-0 Czech Republic
The tournament’s best team against the worst team. Canada did not hold back and showed why they are the favourites to win the World Cup of Hockey 2016.