De­fend­ing champs open with vic­tory at Worlds

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CAROL SCHRAM

PARIS — Four dif­fer­ent Cana­dian play­ers scored and cap­tain Claude Giroux had two as­sists as the twotime de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons opened the IIHF World Hockey Cham­pi­onship with a 4-1 vic­tory over the Czech Repub­lic on Fri­day.

Ryan O’Reilly, Mike Mathe­son, Tyson Bar­rie and Jeff Skin­ner scored for Canada. Lukas Radil had the lone goal for the Czechs.

The Czechs, boosted by the lively crowd at the Ac­corHo­tels Arena, recorded the first six shots of the game on net­min­der Calvin Pickard. The Cana­di­ans with­stood the early at­tack and opened the scor­ing at 6:09 when O’Reilly beat net­min­der Petr Mrazek after tak­ing a pass from be­hind the net by Mark Scheifele.

Canada ex­tended the lead with a power-play goal just 55 se­conds into the sec­ond pe­riod.

Mathe­son threaded a shot from the point through a crowd to make it 2-0.

The Czechs halved the lead with 7:19 left to play in the third pe­riod. Radil scored a power-play goal, beat­ing Pickard on the open side, to spoil the shutout.

Just 2:09 later, Bar­rie re­stored Canada’s two-goal lead and Skin­ner added an empty-net goal with 42.1 se­conds left.

Canada will take on Slove­nia on Sunday.

Czech for­ward Ro­man Cer­venka was forced to leave the game after tak­ing a puck to the face in the third pe­riod.

Pickard helped Canada win gold last year in Rus­sia. He al­lowed one goal in two games as the backup to Cam Talbot.


Canada’s Mitch Marner, left, col­lides with Czech Repub­lic’s Jakub Jer­abek, right, dur­ing Fri­day’s game.

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