U.S. loses 4-1 to Slovakia at World Championship
Slovakia's Tomas Tatar, a former Red Wing, celebrates his goal past goaltender Cory Schneider of the United States.
The United States did not live up to its star-studded roster, at least not in the opener of the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Kosice, Slovakia, Friday.
Team USA fell, 4-1, to host Slovakia.
“They (Slovakia) deserved to win the hockey game and credit to them,” U.S. and Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said on the USA Hockey website. “We need to get to the net more and be harder to play against, and we’ll work on that tomorrow in practice. At the end of the day, it’s the first game of the tournament, and we’ll learn from this game and move forward.”
Chicago Blackhawks right wing and Farmington Hills native Alex DeBrincat scored the only goal for the U.S., which had 26 shots. Jack Eichel and captain Patrick Kane got the assists.
Cory Schneider made 32 saves.
Detroit’s Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening are also on the team.
Former Red Wing Tomas Tatar, now with the Montreal Canadiens, scored for Slovakia. Matus Sukel had a goal and an assist.
They got a boost from an enthusiastic and boisterous home crowd.
“It’s unbelievable” playing at home, Slovakia’s Ladislav Nagy said on the IIHF website. “We have six players from here, and the fans were cheering the full 60 minutes. It was great. It helped us play as well as we did. If we had a bad couple of minutes, they would cheer us on. Everybody loved it.”
Canada also lost its opener on Friday, 3-1 to Finland.
Kaapo Kakko, expected to be the second pick to Team USA’s Jack Hughes in the NHL draft in Vancouver in June, scored twice for Finland.
"We came out a little tentative on our decisions with the puck, but we got a lot better in the second period," Canada coach Alain Vigneault said. "We generated some good scoring chances. In the third period, they get a bounce, we have no idea where the puck is, and it ends up in our net. We didn’t respond well after that. Nothing we can do now, just have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for the next game."
The U.S. plays France early Sunday morning (6:15), while Canada plays Germany.