The Americans may have scored first, but Canada had the last laugh. Team Canada scored five unanswered goals to open up the IIHF World Hockey Championships with a convincing 5-1 win today.
Five different players scored for Canada, including Brendan Gallagher, on his 24th birthday.
“It was nice,” Gallagher said. “It’s actually my little sister’s birthday as well. I texted her and told her I’d get her one, so that’s nice.”
Gallagher went on to praise his linemates – Boone Jenner and Ryan O’Reilly – who together made up Canada’s third line and combined for four points in the game.
“[They’re] two easy guys to play with,” Gallagher explained. “You look at Boone, just how hard he works; he creates a lot of chances for our line. And O’Reilly, he’s one of the more complete players in the world. They’re pretty easy for me to play with.”
Cam Talbot got the start for Canada and looked comfortable on the larger ice surface, stopping 24 of 25 pucks shot his way.
“[You have to] play a little bit smart, a little bit more in control, and manage the bounces the best you can,” Talbot said of the larger ice. “It’s a dream come true to come out here and wear the Canada crest.”
It’s a feeling that Talbot and many others are getting for the first time – representing their country on the international stage.
“We have a young group, we have a hungry group,” head coach Bill Peters said after the game. “They are passionate and full of energy. We will continue to get better as the tournament progresses but we are really pleased with our start.”
Canada’s next game is an early one (or late, depending on your sleep cycle). They’ll take on Hungary at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, hoping for the same effort they got against the U.S.