You know how Team USA kept throwing the phrase “must-win” around regarding Tuesday’s game against Canada? Now that’s literally true.
The Americans weren’t active on Monday, yet it feels like a loss. That’s the nature of round-robin tournaments, at least when you don’t “control your own destiny” after stumbling.
Team Europe grabbed two standings points by winning, and worse yet, the Czech Republic rode Petr Mrazek‘s (mostly) fantastic work to at least get to overtime. They got a crucial “charity point” – to use NHL regular season parlance – and now the U.S. has to beat Canada or they’re out of the World Cup.
Mrazek produced some fantastic work at times, including generating one of the saves of the tournament:
Unfortunately for the Czech Republic, Mats Zuccarello beat Mrazek on a goal that may haunt the Detroit Red Wings netminder moments later.
Zuccarello also found Leon Draisaitl for a breakout pass on the eventual overtime game-winner, so those two forwards have been quite a find for the seemingly ramshackle roster for Europe.
With Team North America and Europe starting the tournament strong, unusual rosters seem to be thriving early on.
The U.S. doesn’t have much time to turn things around.