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Panthers' Aaron Ekblad scores twice in North America's 7-4 win over Europe

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23-U team shows off awesome firepower

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Pre Tournament-Team Europe vs Team North America Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored twice in the opening period as Team North America easily Team Europe, again, in World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament action on Sunday.

Ekblad opened the scoring 5:20 into the first period, from Auston Matthews and Brandon Saad, and after Dylan Larkin scored to make it 2-0 North America, lit the lamp again at the 7:19 mark from Nathan MacKinnon.

The 20-year-old defender finished the game with three shots on goal, one hit, 2 PIM and a +2 rating in 21:08 TOI.

Fellow Panther Vincent Trocheck also contributed to the exhibition win, drawing the primary assist on Larkin’s goal.

Trocheck saw 14:25 and registered three shots on goal, dished out four hits and finished with an even rating.

Detroit’s Larkin scored again to complete the scoring and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau also scored twice.

John Gibson stopped 26 shots to get the win over Jaroslav Halak, who made 18 saves on 20 shots after replacing Thomas Greiss midway through the first period.

Team North America’s final tune-up game will be on Wedensday night against the Czech Republic.