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September 17, 2016

Ralph Krueger

Toronto, Ontario

Europe 3
USA ‑ 0

Q. On the scale of victories, where does this one stand in your career?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, at the moment I really haven't had time to do that kind of placement. I think it set us up for some fun now in the tournament, and just want to stay in the moment, keep the picture really small. And we have difficult challenges still ahead of us. We haven't accomplished anything yet. No emotions there yet.

Q. How well did your team execute your game plan, do you think, tonight? Because you came out early and struck early. Other than the third period, when they had a lot of push‑back, you really seemed to dictate the pace of play early.
RALPH KRUEGER: I thought more than anything the confidence we showed with the puck was outstanding in the first period, the way we managed the pressure they were trying to throw at us and the support away from the puck. And then the management on the scoring chances that we created was outstanding. I mean, that's one aspect that nobody would have given us credit for is how we can play offensively, and we haven't come in here to play a destructive defensive tournament. I was really proud that the players committed to defense when it was called upon. We played compact, we played connected, but more than anything, I think it was the game with the puck that gave us space.
To have that low shot count at the 30‑minute mark I think was what our hope was defensively, but that we created that many chances offensively, that is what you're just mentioning a compliment to the group, and how lethal we were on the chances we had.

Q. How can you explain sort of the metamorphosis between the opening fourth period against North America and everything that's happened since then, sort of the night and day of the way your team has looked?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, I think when we were down one goal to nine after four periods of playing together as a team, and the only thing we spoke about in that intermission was either we pack up and roll over and go home, or now we pull together and we fight to build an identity, and that's when identities are born, in difficult times. If you're a loser or you don't have character, you collapse, and if you're loaded with character like we are, you come together.
I thank the kids for spanking us so hard because we had adversity early, which brought us together. It clarified what we needed to do, and the commitment to do that was born then. We went, without the empty net goal, 10‑2 in the next five periods, and this on top of that, it's been quite a strong reaction.
We couldn't have played a better opponent at the beginning. It's the fastest team at that point in time you could play against out of these eight, and what it did was just tapped into the depths of experience that we have. If you look at the puck management, again, going back to that, we have an experienced group. I've said it from the start, internationally nobody has got as many games under their belts as we do, and I believe that really then built the group to what you saw today.

Q. You mentioned to us the other day to expect the unexpected. What do you expect of Team Europe now moving forward?
RALPH KRUEGER: We've come here to play nine periods, and like everybody else, we want to play next weekend. That was from the get‑go the reason for us to be here. We didn't see ourselves as just a sideshow, ever. This group has always been building to do this, what's happened today. We knew we needed a perfect game.
The American team is so strong, and they have so much skill, and right through their lineup. We needed a perfect night from front to back for Jaro in goal, and it happened. That's not it. We didn't just come here to have one nice game. We've came here to compete and be around next weekend. So now we've got a lot of work to do. The Czechs and Canada are outstanding, both teams. And now we're just going to focus on the next three periods.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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