MONTREAL – Team North America erupted for five first-period goals, two by Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad, then held off a late Team Europe comeback to post a 7-4 win Sunday night in its second exhibition game for the World Cup of Hockey.
Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel had one point in the game, assisting on Dylan Larkin’s goal with 14 seconds remaining. Eichel played on a line with Edmonton center Connor McDavid, who had no points, and Calgary winger Johnny Gaudreau, who scored two goals.
Eichel, who also had an assist in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Team Europe in Quebec City, played 16 minutes, 12 seconds and tied Gaudreau for game-high honors with five shots on goal. He went 6-2 on faceoffs.
Detroit’s Larkin also had a two-goal game for Team North America, while St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko and Colorado winger Nathan MacKinnon had two assists. Anaheim goalie John Gibson made 29 saves to get the win.
Ekblad scored both of his goals and Larkin added his first as Team North America scored three goals in a 1:59 span to take a 3-0 lead before the game was 7ø minutes old. The score was 5-1 after the first period but Team Europe, which got two goals from Los Angeles’ Marion Gaborik, closed to within 5-4 midway through the third. Gaudreau’s second goal, which came with 8:31 left in the third, gave TNA breathing room.
Team North America moves on to Pittsburgh for its final exhibition game Wednesday afternoon against Team Czech Republic. It opens the tournament in Toronto on Sept. 18 against Team Finland.