Canada grabs semi-final spot with win over U.S.

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:15am EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada ended U.S. hopes of escaping the preliminary round of the World Cup of Hockey by thrashing their North American rivals 4-2 on Tuesday, clinching a semi-final berth for the hosts and Team Europe.

After an upset loss to Europe in their tournament opener, the United States (0-2) came into the showdown with Canada (2-0) needing a win to keep alive hope of advancing out of Group A, upping the intensity level in an already heated rivalry several notches.

But after opening the scoring, the U.S. surrendered four goals, including two in 14 seconds, dooming them to another early exit from a major international competition.

"I thought we had a good start but gave them a couple of freebies and you just can't do that," said U.S. coach John Tortorella, who will have one more meaningless game in group play against the Czech Republic.

"It's disappointing, frustrating. I think we let some people down. It's on my watch and I certainly feel responsible."

It was a day of rivalries at the World Cup as Finland and Sweden also faced off with the Tre Kronor claiming a 2-0 victory over the Finns behind the brilliant goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, back in net after missing the opener with the flu.

While Russia holds the status as traditional rival of both Canada and the United States, the bad blood fueled by a Cold War and opposing political ideologies has long ago faded along with the much of the animosity.

The new Canada-U.S. rivalry has yet to produce a defining moment in a feud driven by a shared border and familiarity that has bred fierce contempt.   Continued...

Sep 20, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada;  Team Canada forward Matt Duchene (9) celebrates with team mates Joe Thornton (97), Ryan O'Reilly (90) Shea Weber (6) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) after scoring against Team USA during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports