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September 21, 2016

Ralph Krueger

Toronto, Ontario

Team Canada 4
Team Europe ‑ 1

Q. Ralph, are you disappointed tonight in the outcome and how the game went along?
RALPH KRUEGER: I mean, we definitely saw the level that it'll take to win this tournament tonight, and I was‑‑ we weren't pleased as a group with our first period. I think we kind of watched the game. Came back better in the second. It was a much stronger period.
We had too many short‑handed situations and not enough shots getting through from our offense that we did create.
I thought Canada did an amazing job of getting in the lanes and taking away any opportunities we had. That's something. But there's a lot of growth in this game for us. We're where we wanted to be at this point. We're in the semifinal. That won't dampen our spirits. If anything, it'll make us hungrier in the next three days to find one more level with this group, and we've had adversity before and come out of it really strong, and I'm sure we will this time.

Q. You've got a chance to be with Team Canada or against them tonight, so you kind of know them inside out. This was an interesting day; this building had more buzz earlier in the day because of the way in which the kids played and the kind of game that we had. Is it almost unfair in a way that Canada just keeps winning, and it seems like maybe it's not good enough right now for some fans?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, it's definitely the Canadian team continues to be the big favorite here, and it's going to take something magical for anybody to take them out of the tournament. You know, I know that group very well and have a lot of respect for what's being done off and on the ice with the group.
It's a challenge for every country right now. It's a compliment to Canada, it's a compliment to what's going on here. But, again, the tournament is still coming down to one‑game semifinals and best‑of‑three finals, so the four teams that are in it have a chance to win it.
The favorite remains Canada, and there's nothing else to say. They're just‑‑ they've proved and earned the respect that they have right now from everybody else.

Q. As we look ahead, you're going to draw Sweden in the semifinals, so you took care of them in the pre‑tournament. What does that mean?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, we can definitely take courage from our game in Washington. We know that they had just come from Europe, and they're a much improved team right now. I thought they reacted well in a difficult situation and difficult start today. I know them inside out, also, so many games against them, as do most of our players. It's a Euro‑Euro battle, and we definitely feel confident going into it, but we know it'll be a stronger team than we saw in Washington for sure. But I believe we're a better team and more knowledgeable of what we're capable of and what we need to play than we were then, too, so it should be a good game.

Q. Please talk about this: Group A was pretty much an afterthought before the tournament to 99 percent of the team. Talk about rewriting history in that sense.
RALPH KRUEGER: Yeah, thank you. We sensed an opportunity in the first game and were‑‑ the players really showed up for that one, which was the U.S. game. To come back two days later and match that performance or even come stronger against the Czechs who were extremely hungry and were caged in a corner, I thought showed a real special spirit in the group. And we're very proud of what the group has accomplished and how they have come together.
This Canada team and game will dampen our spirits for a short period of time, but we have three days in between to get our spirits back up and pull together and not only match but beat those performances against the U.S. and the Czechs that got us here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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