Team North America came with the two “S”s that most hockey fans expected: skill and speed. After all, this is a team comprised of the likes of Johnny Hockey, Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid, 2016 first-round overall pick Auston Matthews, and other bright young starts.
However, with some snarl, they attacked Finland with physicality and aggression in all three zones. The Under-23 team consistently beat Finland to the front of the net and 50/50 pucks.
This is a team that came of its last exhibition game with a 3-2 loss to the Czechs, but they absolutely smothered team Finland and flashed the skill and speed we all expected.
For a team that many feel the likes of Team Canada can take care of by eliminating time and space, the orange and black kids really opened some eyes in their opening match.
Team North America will take on Russia tomorrow evening after Russia nearly tied the game in the final 30 seconds against Sweden before Alex Ovechkin’s hand-to-almost-stick goal was waved off in the final seconds.