Defending champion Canada opens world championship with 4-1 win over Czechs

Canada opens worlds with 4-1 win over Czechs

PARIS — Four different Canadian players scored and captain Claude Giroux had two assists as the two-time 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.

“That was a great play by Scheifs,” said O’Reilly, a veteran of Canada’s last two winning worlds teams “He’s fast, made a strong play to me and I just got lucky trying to get it off to the net. Luckily for me, it went in.”

“I heard O’Reilly calling for it,” added Scheifele, who was also part of Canada’s team in 2016. “I knew I had a read on the puck and made a play from there.”

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.

“They earned that goal,” said Pickard, who was named Canada’s player of the game after making 28 saves. “They made a good play across, hit the post, went back to the other guy. I can live with that one.

“Tyson (Barrie) got a huge goal right after that to make it 3-1 and kind of break up their momentum. It was definitely nice to answer that.”

Barrie restored Canada’s two-goal lead 2:09 after the Czech goal, then Skinner added an empty-net goal with 42.1 seconds left.

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.

“It’s definitely a privilege,” Pickard said of his starting assignment. “I wanted to make the most of it.”

Canada’s head coach Jon Cooper earned the win in his first-ever World Championship assignment, and said he enjoyed the experience. “The Czech fans-it was really fun to be a part of. The chants and the cheers, it’s a really really cool environment. A tribute to the fans and the fans of Paris that came out.

“It was a fun environment for two countries that aren’t France. I’m really excited to go through the rest of this.”

Canada will take on Slovenia on Sunday.

Carol Schram, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Giants ground Rockets in WHL action

Vancouver builds early lead, never looks back in 6-1 win at Langley Events Centre

VIDEO: emergency landing near Langley airport

Plane lost power during take-off

Crash on 200 Street in Langley Township

Report of traffic congestion following late morning accident

Surrey’s Justin Sourdif to debut for Vancouver Giants tonight in Langley

Last month, he suited up for Team BC in the WHL Cup and was named tournament all-star.

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Surrey’s Sourdif makes Giant debut

Vancouver Giants coach among those impressed by Surrey teen

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Crash shuts down Highway 91 in Richmond for hours

The stretch of highway was closed for more than 6 hours due to a multi-vehicle accident

Most Read