By Ivette Barajas
After a lengthy 12 year drought, the World Cup of Hockey finally made it’s long awaited return this past weekend to the shock and lovely surprise of many. Any international competition is a time of excitement, passion, and riveting patriotism. So, naturally, hockey fans all over the world are thrilled, to say the very least. The competition is made up of 8 teams with Canada as the host team, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, United States, a European team composed of players from the rest of Europe, and a North American team made up of 23-and-under players from Canada and the U.S.
One team to keep an eye on is the youthful Team North America. Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, and Dylan Larkin are among the youngsters trying to show the world what they’re capable of. While it’s natural to want to root for the homeland, Team USA, it’s hard not to want these rookies to win it all. Put up against NHL vets who’ve been in the sport for as long as the rookies have been alive, they’ve got a lot to prove. And who doesn’t like an underdog? Team North America’s first official match of the tournament was this past Sunday against an incredibly stacked Team Finland. Finland is no newbie to ice hockey, having won gold at the 2011 IIHF World Championships before, it’s safe to say they’re quite good at it. But were they good enough to beat the energetic, nimble, team North America?
Jack Eichel opened up the scoring with a goal five minutes into the game, proving once again that speed is essential. The Finns were quick to respond, with Jori Lehtera receiving a penalty for high-sticking North American player Shayne Gostisbehere. This, however, did nothing to slow down the youngsters. As soon as the 2nd period began, Team North America answered back to Finland’s retaliation with three goals, basically one after the other, making the score 4-0. The Finns tried to catch up after scoring one goal in the third period, but failed, leaving Team North America with a 4-1 win in their first official game of the tournament. Is it too early to say the rookies may be able to take the whole competition? We’ll have to wait and see to find out.