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Auston Matthews crowd favourite in North America World Cup win

Team North America's Sean Couturier (14) looks to pass in front of Team Russia's Alexei Emelin (74) during first period World Cup of Hockey action in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

The young stars shone on Sunday at the World Cup of Hockey with a dominating 4-1 triumph over Finland at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

North American captain Connor McDavid, for instance, had an opportunity to lift his team to a 2-0 lead at 5:23 of the second period when he broke in by himself on Bobrovsky but the Russian goalie stopped the shot with his right pad.

Team Russia held on for a 4-3 win only after a frantic Team North America power play failed to produce the tying goal in the final 40 seconds.

It's only one game, but the continued success of North America (and I think they'll experience a lot of it) should send a message about the biases we already knew about in the National Hockey League; namely that young players are routinely undervalued by general managers and coaches.

The game slowed down considerably as both teams got into penalty trouble, starting at the end of first period and carrying over to the second, with neither team able to get anything going offensively with a man advantage.

The 23-and-under team was unable overcome a three-goal deficit despite shelling Bobrovsky with 46 shots and Russian Federation eventually won a wild one, 4-3.

Both Russia and North America are now 1-1 at the World Cup of Hockey. Ovechkin tipped a puck past Markstrom and the game ended 2-1 in favor of Sweden. Though head coach Todd McLellan praised Jacob Trouba for "playing a heck of a game" in place of Ekblad, not having someone to match up against Russia's snipers was possibly the difference.

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Team North America sent a message to the rest of the teams in the tournament in big, billboard-sized letters: Do NOT overlook us. "You have to learn on the fly a little bit". "If we're going to play with the puck, these guys start to do something wrong for sure. And once you get it back, it's hard to score against them". "When you're a group of young players, you're looking for somebody just to take charge and settle it down, maybe get a shift or two under your belt". "As soon as we opened it up and allowed them to use their speed, that's where you saw them kind of take over the game". We made too many mistakes.

This group of players, ages 23 and under from Canada and the United States, has defied skeptics and generated considerable goodwill at the World Cup of Hockey.

Caught off guard when he found out Lundqvist was sent home due to an illness, Markstrom stopped 27 shots to help the Swedes beat Russian Federation 2-1 in Group B play. But, I mean, there's a middle in there where they took it to us.

Once North America got the puck back, it continued to bombard Bobrovsky with shots. And Bobrovsky had to make several good saves while Russian Federation killed off a penalty as the period ended.

"Historically, and we are about to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we have been and still are the most global of the North American sports leagues", said Bettman, speaking at the Hockey Sense Summit looking at social equality.

A third goal for the select side arrived on the powerplay through Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the third period, but there would ultimately be no way back. "That's something we've got to clean up".

The 20-year-old Ekblad was smacked into the glass by Finland's Leo Komarov during Sunday's contest.

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