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Monday, September 26, 2016

Europe Stuns Sweden, Advances to #WCH2016 Finals

One team would remind by the end of Sunday's final World Cup of Hockey semi-final match with the winner going on to play Team Canada.  It wasn't who everyone expected.

Bet on the Vets

The odds were against Team Europe.  A cobbled together team of misfit toys from all over the continent of Europe.  Switzerland, Germany, France, Demark, Slovakia, Norway, Slovenia, and Austria all brought together their best players, largely weathered veterans, with the hopes of being able to hope to form some cohesive system on short notice.  They were, essentially, the polar opposite of Team North America.

They were going against the reigning silver medalists.  A team with a lengthy history of winning world championships.  A team with the King, the twins, and two of the Penguins more prolific scorers (Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist).  A team favored only behind Canada to win the World Cup.

And Europe stunned them.

Going punch for punch with the established giant, Team Europe forced overtime.  Sweden started hot with a goal Nicklas Backstrom before Europe countered with two goals coming from Marian Gaborik and Tomas Tatar.  Erik Karlsson punched back with a game tying goal with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

It brought us the first overtime match of the World Cup of Hockey.  Using the same rules of NHL overtime, it could have been a long day.  Instead Tomas Tatar struck again.

Sweden was done.  Europe advanced.  Now there were two.

Other Notes

It comes down to a Best of Three format for the title.  Team Canada will take on Team Europe starting Tuesday at 8:00pm EST on ESPN.  Game two will take place Thursday at 8:00pm EST on ESPN2.  If necessary game three will be Saturday at 7:00pm EST on ESPN2.

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