With two late goals, Canada overcame a tremendous effort from Team Europe to earn the series sweep and win the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with a 2-1 victory in Game 2.
It was Canada’s Boston Bruins who scored the goals that made sure the night ended with a trophy celebration for the hosts. Patrice Bergeron scored off a deflection with 2:53 remaining in regulation on a power play to tie the game, while Brad Marchand stunned Europe with a short-handed goal with 44 seconds remaining.
Team Europe had held Canada in check for almost the entirety of the game. A late penalty on captain Anze Kopitar — something that almost certainly wouldn’t have been called late in a Stanley Cup Playoffs game — set the stage for Canada to tie on Bergeron’s power-play tally. The Europeans still had another shot when Drew Doughty went to the box for a high-stick with less than two minutes to go in regulation.
Marchand bailed out Doughty with a tremendous snipe following a drop pass from Jonathan Toews. Europe made one more last push, but could not find the back of the net, as Canada celebrated on home ice.
Sidney Crosby, who led all players with 10 points in the tournament, was named the World Cup MVP. His 2016 trophy case now includes the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, World Cup and World Cup MVP award. Not a bad haul.
Not since Feb. 21, 2010, has Canada lost in a best-on-best tournament. They’re 16-0 since that 5-3 loss to the U.S. in the preliminary round of the Vancouver Olympics and it seems to only be getting tougher and tougher to beat them.
Head coach Mike Babcock has been behind the bench for the past three best-on-best tournament victories, including 2010 in Vancouver, 2014 in Sochi and now this World Cup.
By the way, the World Cup was the last jewel for Babcock’s international crown. As a coach, he has led Canada to titles at the Olympics, World Juniors, World Championship and now the World Cup. No other coach has done that.
Does Babcock get the best players? Yes he does, but the thing about short tournaments like these is that so much can go wrong. The difference between a championship and nothing could literally come down to a single bounce. Yet his teams always end up on top, it seems. It’s not easy to do, even when you’ve got the best weapons in your arsenal.
Some of Canada’s players have even bigger winning streaks internationally, when it comes to the various international tournaments like the Men’s World Championship and the World Junior Championship. Carey Price, for instance, hasn’t lost a game for Canada since the World Under-18 Championship. Sidney Crosby’s personal winning streak sits at 25 games now including Olympics, World Cup and World Championship. It’s silly.
Everyone knows that Canada is tops when it comes to hockey, but the fact that they’ve made it tougher to knock them from the perch over these years — when every other country is getting better and deeper — it’s hard not to admire whether you’re Canadian or not.
Canada has now won five of the past six best-on-bests, with only the 2006 Olympics as the most recent stumble. The rest of the world has some serious work to do.