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2016 World Cup of Hockey: Schedule, scores and more

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NHL hockey may be a month away, but a tournament with the league’s biggest names should hold you over until then.

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey season has come early with the official start of the World Cup of Hockey. After a week and a half of pre-tournament games and a surprising round robin, eight teams have become four and now two as the finals are here!

Favorite Canada took on Russia and advanced to the final with a 5-3 victory after the latter booted Team North America from semi-final contention in the round robin. With Team USA's horrific 0-3 showing in the round robin, Team Europe will faced Sweden in the second semi-final match and won!

It was the tournament favorites and powerhouse Canada against a misfit team of Europeans that basically everyone overlooked. Surprisingly, Canada didn't roll all over them! In fact, Europe was probably the superior team through most of the final, but Canada's abundance of talent eventually paved the way to a 2-1 final in Game 2. All things considered, quite a fun tournament.

The format

The tournament will utilize a round robin style of play by groups. The four teams in each pool will play each other once over the course of a week, gaining points like the current NHL system with tie breakers being decided by goal differential and regulation wins.

The top two teams of each group will advance to the semifinals, before the two teams remaining play in a best-of-three series to determine the winner. Simple, yes?

The groups

Group A
Team Record Points Goal differential
Canada** 3-0-0 6 +11
Europe** 2-1-0 4 +1
Czech Republic 1-1-1 3 -6
USA 0-3-0 0
Group B
Team Record Points Goal differential
Sweden* 2-0-1 5 +2
Russia* 2-1-0 4 +3
North America 2-1-0 4 +3
Finland 0-3-0 0 -8

*Advanced to semi-finals
** Advanced to final

Pre-tournament games

Thursday, September 8

Finland 3, Sweden 2
Russia 4, Czech Republic 3
North America 4, Europe 0

Friday, September 9

United States 4, Canada 2

Saturday, September 10

Czech Republic 2, Russia 1 (SO)
Sweden 6, Finland 3
Canada 5, United States 2

Sunday, September 11

North America 7, Europe 4

Tuesday, September 13

United States 3, Finland 2

Wednesday, September 14

Czech Republic 3, North America 2
Europe 6, Sweden 2
Canada 3, Russia 2

Round robin games

Saturday, September 17

Europe 3, United States 0
Canada 6, Czech Republic 0

Sunday, September 18

Sweden 2, Russia 1
North America 4, Finland 1

Monday, September 19

Europe 3, Czech Republic 2 (OT)
Russia 4, North America 3

Tuesday, September 20

Sweden 2, Finland 0
Canada 4, USA 2

Wednesday, September 21

North America 4, Sweden 3 (OT)
Canada 4, Europe 1

Thursday, September 22

Russia 3, Finland 0
Czech Republic 4, USA 3

World Cup semifinals

Saturday, September 24

Canada 5, Russia 3

Sunday, September 25

Europe 3, Sweden 2 (OT)

World Cup final

Tuesday, September 27

Canada 3, Europe 1

Thursday, September 29

Canada 2, Europe 1