JASON LA ROSE
(ISN) – DAVOS, Switzerland – Alexandre Giroux (Quebec City, Que./HC Ambri-Piotta, SUI) scored midway through the third period to make it a one-goal game, but Canada’s National Men’s Team dropped a 2-1 decision to host side HC Davos to open the 2014 Spengler Cup on Friday.
The loss means Canada will play Saturday against Medvescak Zagreb (2:15 p.m. ET/11:15 a.m. PT) in its second and final preliminary round game in the Cattini Group.
The Canadians had no issues on the offensive side of the puck, outshooting Davos 37-28, including 29-15 over the final 40 minutes. But goaltender Leonardo Genoni kept the Team Canada offence at bay.
HC Davos opened the scoring at the 7:34 mark of the opening period; on a three-on-one break, Beat Forster cut to the Canadian net and lifted a backhand over the shoulder of netminder Nolan Schaefer (Yellow Grass, Sask./SC Bern, SUI) for a 1-0 lead.
That would be it for scoring in the first 40 minutes, with Genoni and Schaefer going save-for-save to keep it a one-goal game.
Canada’s best chance came off the stick of Curtis Hamilton (Kelowna, B.C./Oklahoma City, AHL), who redirected a feed in front late in the second period, only to be denied by a quick pad stop from Genoni.
The HC Davos power play doubled the lead eight minutes into the third period; Dick Axelsson danced through the Canadian defence before slipping a shot through the five-hole of Schaefer.
Canada answered on a man advantage of its own just 80 seconds later. A point shot from Marc-André Gragnani (Ile-Bizard, Que./SC Bern, SUI) rang off the crossbar and landed at the feet of Giroux, who deftly kicked the puck to his stick before knocking in the 2-1 goal.
But that would be as close as the Canadians would get, as one more late power play, and 90 seconds of six-on-five play with Schaefer on the bench in the final minutes, failed to produce the game-tying goal.