Canada re­mains per­fect at world cham­pi­onship

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Al­ready boast­ing wins over Fin­land and Switzer­land, France al­most added the twotime de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons to its im­pres­sive list of up­sets at the world hockey cham­pi­onship.

Canada did just enough to sweat out a 3-2 win over France on Thurs­day, how­ever, over­com­ing a bois­ter­ous home crowd and its own undis­ci­plined play to re­main per­fect through four games in Paris.

The Cana­di­ans im­proved to 4-0 but faced plenty of ad­ver­sity form the French. Canada fell be­hind an op­po­nent for the first time in the tour­na­ment when Damien Fleury put France up 2-1 on the power play at the 1:37 mark of the sec­ond pe­riod.

Claude Giroux replied on a Cana­dian man ad­van­tage to send the teams to the dress­ing room in a 2-2 tie af­ter two pe­ri­ods. Marc-Edouard Vla­sic was cred­ited with the win­ner at 2:22 of the third af­ter a bounc­ing puck de­flected past French net­min­der Flo­rian Hardy off team­mate Jonathan Janil.

France pressed for the equal­izer be­hind a rau­cous sold-out crowd of 14,510 at Ac­cor-Ho­tels Arena but Canada held on for the win.

“That game was re­ally good for us as a coach­ing staff,” said Cana­dian coach Jon Cooper af­ter the game. “To come into a hostile en­vi­ron­ment, it was amaz­ing to be in front of all those fans, know­ing that a lot of them weren’t cheer­ing for us.”

Canada’s Ryan O’Reilly and

France’s Olivier Dame-Malka traded first-pe­riod goals.

Tem­pers ran high through­out the game. France was whis­tled for 10 min­utes in penal­ties, while Canada re­ceived 33 min­utes. For­ward Jeff Skin­ner was

as­sessed a ma­jor penalty and game mis­con­duct for a spear on goal­tender Hardy with 16:08 left to play in the third pe­riod.

“The refs have a tough job,” Cooper said. “They’ve got to make split-sec­ond de­ci­sions

and that’s the way they saw it. Know­ing Jeff Skin­ner, he didn’t mean to do that.”

Hardy made 32 saves for France, while Cana­dian goal­tender Chad John­son stopped 22 shots.

“It was a tough game for us,” said John­son. “They came hard and it seemed like any chance they had, they were close calls on a lot of them. As much as we con­trolled the puck, it seemed like when­ever they had the puck, it was tough.”

Canada was with­out Tyson Bar­rie, who had led all de­fence­men in scor­ing with seven points in three games be­fore suf­fer­ing a tour­na­ment-end­ing lower-body in­jury away from the ice on Wed­nes­day.

Chris Lee, a 36-year-old from Mac­Tier, Ont., was regis­tered for the tour­na­ment on Thurs­day and took Bar­rie’s place on the sec­ond de­fence pair­ing with Calvin de Haan and on the power play. Lee had 14 goals and 65 points in 2016-17 with Mag­ni­to­gorsk Me­tal­lurg of the KHL. He had been a prac­tice player with Canada and scored a goal dur­ing Canada’s warmup game in Switzer­land be­fore the tour­na­ment be­gan.

Another de­fence­man, Colton Parayko, had ar­rived in Paris af­ter his St. Louis Blues were elim­i­nated from the Stan­ley Cup play­offs, but was not yet ready for game ac­tion.

The two-time de­fend­ing world cham­pion Cana­di­ans re­main first in Group B at 4-0. Ear­lier on Thurs­day in Paris, the Czech Repub­lic shut out Nor­way 1-0.

In Group A ac­tion in Cologne, Ger­many, Rus­sia moved into first place with a 3-0 shutout of Den­mark, while Swe­den beat Latvia 2-0.

Canada’s next game will be against 2-1-1-0 Switzer­land on Satur­day.

AP PHOTO

France’s Flo­rian Chaki­achvili (left) chal­lenges Canada’s Bray­den Schenn dur­ing the Ice Hockey World Cham­pi­onships group B match be­tween Canada and France in the Ac­corHo­tels Arena in Paris, France on Thurs­day.

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