Sports

Canadian netminder Corey Crawford solid in World Cup of Hockey debut

TORONTO β€” Team Canada goaltender Corey Crawford made his World Cup of Hockey debut on Wednesday night and he took full advantage of the opportunity.

Crawford made 19 saves in a 4-1 victory over Team Europe at Air Canada Centre to help Canada sweep its three round-robin games and lock up first place in Group A.

"We play so well defensively," Crawford said. "We don't give up (many) shots or scoring chances so for a goalie on this team you've just got to try to stay in the game and just be solid."

Crawford was tested in the opening period despite facing only four shots. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's snapshot from the slot was Europe's best early scoring chance but Crawford absorbed it without a rebound.

His lone hiccup came in the second period when Marian Hossa β€” normally his teammate with the Chicago Blackhawks β€” knuckled a puck past him from a sharp angle.

"I don't know what I was trying to do there," Crawford said. "I'll probably hear about that the rest of the year."

No. 3 goalie Braden Holtby served as Crawford's backup. Price, who allowed two goals over the first two games, will likely be back in net for Canada's semifinal on Saturday night.

While Crawford would often go extended stretches with limited action, his counterpart at the other end was getting a stiff workout. Jaroslav Halak was tested early and often, stopping 42-of-46 shots.

Crawford's first start of the tournament was also his international debut with the Canadian team.

"That was pretty special, I've waited a long time," he said. "Watching as a kid, watching Olympics, watching world juniors. It's a pretty special feeling to put that jersey on.

"Having friends and family and my parents here, it was a great feeling."

Crawford stopped all 10 shots he faced in a pre-tournament win over the United States on Sept. 10.

The Montreal native won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015. He had a 35-18-5 record last season with a 2.37 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

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