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Team Czech Republic

Early mistakes cost Team Czech Republic

Slow start too much to overcome against Team Canada

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- One underdog, Team Europe, delivered an upset at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 on Saturday. The other, Team Czech Republic, performed as most expected, falling 6-0 to Team Canada at Air Canada Centre.

After Team Europe's surprising 3-0 win against Team USA in the afternoon, the evening game on the tournament's opening day provided no such drama.

"It's tough to sit here after such a game, such a score, but the first 10 minutes it didn't look that bad," Team Europe assistant coach Vinny Prospal said. "I believe we were ready to play, but after the first goal it almost seemed like we stopped playing and we started making bad plays and they filled our net."

Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby scored at 8:26 of the first period and then two goals late in the period - Brad Marchand's tip-in at 17:08 and Patrice Bergeron's with 0.6 seconds remaining - sealed Team Czech Republic's fate.

Video: CZE@CAN: Crosby opens the scoring from a sharp angle

"It was a tough one because we had a good start," Team Czech Republic center Tomas Plekanec said. "The first 10 minutes was exactly the way we wanted to play the whole game. We made a couple of mistakes and they did a good job on those goals, and all of a sudden we were down and from that point, it was hard to play."

The third goal was the result of a risky play by Team Czech defenseman Michal Kempny. Behind his own goal with five seconds left in the first, he started up the ice but was quickly tracked down and knocked down by Crosby, causing the turnover that led to Bergeron's goal.

"Apparently that wasn't a penalty," Plekanec said. "We asked the coaches, and they looked at it and it was no penalty. It's just a tough break, to get scored against 0.6 seconds (left in the period)."

Team Czech Republic forward Martin Hanzal said his group simply couldn't recover from the non-call.

"That's the referee's call," he said. "He didn't call a penalty. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. I'm not sure. But when they scored the first two goals they took the momentum away from us, and after that we pretty much couldn't handle it. After that, it was pretty much their show."

Call or not, it was an unnecessary risk by Kempny and one of many mistakes that disappointed Prospal. And it was Crosby's line that took advantage for all three of Team Canada's first-period goals.

"I wouldn't really want to comment on the players on the other team; that's not my job," Prospal said. "But obviously, look at the scoresheet and the first three goals come from that line. So they must have done something really good. On the other hand, we should worry about what our players did that led to these three goals in the first period.

"The first one goes in, back-door play from behind the goal line. The second one, we lose the faceoff in the D-zone and it gets to the point, quick shot, tipped, and the third one is just a bad turnover with what, half a second left. It's a tough way to finish the period."

Video: CZE@CAN: Neuvirth stops Stamkos with a blocker save

Team Czech Republic had a quality chance for the game's first goal in the opening minute, but Ondrej Palat's redirection was denied by the right pad of Team Canada goalie Carey Price at 40 seconds.

"I don't know if it would have made the difference, but for sure we would have had confidence and we could have played much better afterward," Plekanec said. "Like I said, the first 10 minutes was the way we wanted to play the whole game."

The defeat leaves Team Czech Republic with what amounts to a must-win Group A game against Team Europe on Monday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, TVA Sports).

"The tournament's just starting. Sure it's the first game, and 6-0, it's obviously not ideal," Prospal said. "But hopefully the sun will come up tomorrow and we'll get to have a practice and get ready for our next game, which is going to be really, really important. And we just have to regroup. There's really no rocket science in that.

"We just have to show up and practice the right way and get ready for the next game. The best thing is we don't have to sit here for three or four days. We get to play in a couple of days, and [I] believe it's the early game. We have to be ready to compete, and I believe Team Europe, they came up with a huge win today."

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