Remember that old team of castoffs from a bunch of different random countries that was playing at the World Cup of Hockey because reasons? Well, they’re still here.
Team Europe won its second game of the tournament Monday, beating the Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime on Leon Draisaitl’s breakaway goal. Draisaitl broke in on Czech goalie Petr Mrazek all by his lonesome and froze him with a quick shot on the stick side.
Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak, who shut out Team USA in Europe’s first World Cup game, made 28 saves on Monday. He was beaten by a low-flying laser shot by Jakub Voracek in the second period and by a rebound that came from behind the net and right to Martin Hanzal standing right outside the crease in the third.
But Halak did pick up an assist on a second period goal by the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello, one of the neat little solidarity moments you see in exhibition games like this.
Halak’s Islanders creasemate Thomas Greiss was the healthy scratch for the second straight game. Philipp Grubauer was Europe’s back-up.
Mrazek was the star of the game, making 38 saves including some of a pretty spectacular variety. Having Draistail’s Stone Cold Stunner end up the game-winner makes you feel bad for Mrazek after his efforts.
The win gives Team Europe four points in the preliminary round and forces Team USA into a situation in which they have to beat freakin’ Canada to stay afloat in Group A. The two teams play on Tuesday evening. Canada won its first game against the Czechs, 6-0. A loss Tuesday by the Americans and it’s basically time for some lovely parting gifts.
Needless to say, this is not the optimal spot to be in.
Europe’s not guaranteed a spot in the semifinals just yet, but having two wins in their pocket after two games is nice. Like a Eurail Select Pass.