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World Cup of Hockey recap: Canada 2 USA 4

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Mission Accomplished?

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Pre Tournament-Team Canada vs Team USA Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The headline today on Sportsnet said it all:

Team USA has one mission: Take out Canada

Gold goes through Mike Babcock’s bunch. So Team USA’s brain trust, helmed by GM Dean Lombardi, looked past skill guys like Tyler Johnson, Kyle Okposo, Phil Kessel and Kevin Shattenkirk and constructed a roster that will attempt to do so, literally.

Team USA wants to grit, heart, and concuss it’s way past Canada in this tournament and if this exhibition game is any indication, they have that part down pat.

The game began with Canada making the USA look like Europe playing North America. Team USA didn’t get a shot off for seven minutes. The only thing keeping Canada from getting a blowout lead right away was off season rust contributing to missed chances and Jonathan Quick making some key saves.

Once USA got on the board from Zach Parise, via screened Carey Price, and then from Patrick Kane sneaking the puck into the net from the side with two minutes left in the first period, they took hold of a lot of this game and set out to play the way they wanted to win.

“I wasn’t in the Olympics, but being a fan, being a U.S. guy, it makes us want to go after them and win one of these tournaments,” says Dubinsky, a member of the nastiest, grittiest, Tortorellist bottom six in the tournament.

USA tries to badger Canada into scrums and gets their wish as Canada goes down a man as Shea Weber and Brad Marchand get roughing penalties, to Dubinsky’s single roughing penalty.

Logan Couture is the first major victim of John Tortorellas Team USA:

Does Dubinsky want a crack at Crosby?

“I know what my role is. Whoever I line up across I’m going to play him hard . . .do whatever I can to make Team USA successful.”

Ryan Kesler does his damndest to take Weber out of the tournament, giving us a classic hockey school example of boarding.

Amongst the attempts to shorten the Canadian bench Patrice Bergeron cut the USA’s lead by one, scoring from in front of Quick while Crosby blocked his vision.

This game is being played like a beer league finals where the refs know it’s not worth their $5 to get involved and actually call things that should be gotten rid of.

“They know they have a target on their back” Max Pacioretty tells us.

It’s clear this is the first exhibition game of the tournament, it’s a sloppy, sloppy game emotionally and the players can’t seem to go five minutes without getting into a scrum. Play wise it’s not, it’s all Canada.

After Bergeron scores, Pavelski doubled the lead on Canada. Price hasn’t been handling rebounds all night and the Sharks captain took advantage of this. The second period would end with the USA up 3-1 and Kesler ejected from the game.

Drew Doughty would try to not let the USA win with their shenanigans, scoring a rocket of a goal past Ben Bishop, would took over the USA net in the third.

However, Team USA got an empty net goal Derek Stepan to seal the victory.

If Canada gets more practice in, they’ll own this tournament. The talent is there but the connections aren’t complete between some of the players yet. Canada dominated possession. Team USA’s only shot on record in the third was the empty net goal. Canada can win this. They just need to find a way to stop the Americans “win at all costs” style of play, don’t get suckered into it, and get the goalies warmed up before next weekend.

Team USA has Torts methods down pat. Win at all costs. Don’t treat your opponent like people, they’re just objects in your path. Goaltending was the USA’s key to victory tonight.

Hopefully eveyone calms down before the tournament starts. Tough chance, considering these two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Ottawa.

I’m sure all eyes will be on the game, except those GM’s who have players in this game. They’ll be watching from behind their hands.