Johnny Gaudreau had another solid performance in pre-tournament action at the World Cup of Hockey. He scored two goals helping lead Team North America to a 7-4 win over Team Europe.
Well I guess you could say that Johnny Gaudreau only “scored” once during the game today as his first was credited to him after Luca Sbisa knocked the puck out of mid-air inadvertently into his own net.
His second goal was a thing of beauty however as he walked around a European defender before stepping into the slot and neatly wristing a backhander into the net.
North America jumped out early in this game taking a 5-1 lead in the first period. Team Europe slowly fought back, making it 5-4 at one point in the 3rd before Gaudreau’s second goal sealed it. Aaron Ekblad and Dylan Larkin also scored twice for Team North America.
Yesterday, three other pre-tournament games took place, two of which involved Flames players.
In the first game, the Czech Republic beat Russia 2-1 in a shootout. The Czechs tied the game with only 1:11 to play with Calgary Flame Michael Frolik getting an assist on the tying goal. Frolik finished the game with 1 assist, 3 shots, and 16:59 in ice time. Former Flame Jakub Nakladal also had 20:50 in ice time, good for second most by Czech defenders.
The second game had Team Sweden double up Team Finland 6-3. Patrik Hornqvist led the way for Sweden with four points in the game. Two Flames players also suited up for the game with Mikael Backlund getting his first action of the tournament for Sweden, while Jyrki Jokipakka was in the lineup for Finland again.
Backlund only got 9:42 in ice time and didn’t register any points in the win. Jokipakka had 19:07 of ice time and a beautiful assist on Finland’s third goal.
The final game yesterday had Canada and the USA square off for the 2nd time in 2 days with Canada getting the best of the United States this time around by a score of 5-2. Canada had two goals from John Tavares while also getting singles from Jay Bouwmeester, Matt Duchene, and Logan Couture. For those who say that this tournament is a “glorified all-star game”, tell that to these two teams as they racked up 52 penalty minutes which is very high by international standards.
Each team has one final pre-tournament game left to go with the schedule with Finland taking on the USA on Tuesday in Washington. Then on Wednesday, the final three games take place with Czech Republic playing North America, Sweden playing Europe, and Canada playing Russia.
The actual tournament starts on Saturday, and based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m counting the days!