2016 IIHF World Championship – pre-competition
Prague, Czech Republic
JASON LA ROSE
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Cam Talbot (Caledonia, Ont./Edmonton, NHL) and Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Colorado, NHL) combined for a 22-save shutout, leading Canada’s National Men’s Team past the Czech Republic 3-0 on Tuesday.
The game was Canada’s only pre-tournament match-up ahead of the 2016 IIHF World Championship; the Canadians open defence of their gold medal Friday against the United States (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT on TSN).
Ryan O’Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL), Matt Duchene (Haliburton, Ont./Colorado, NHL) and Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Edmonton, NHL) had the goals for the Canadians, who won despite being outshot 22-19.
It didn’t take long for Canada to take an early lead; O’Reilly redirected a Morgan Rielly (West Vancouver, B.C./Toronto, NHL) point shot past Czech netminder Pavel Francouz only 6:39 after the puck dropped.
Duchene finished off a pretty feed from Max Domi (Toronto, Ont./Arizona, NHL) just over two minutes after that, and the Canadians looked to be well on their way to a victory.
But that would be the last puck to beat Francouz, who gave way to Dominik Furch at the 11-minute mark of the second period with the score still 2-0. The Canadians made their goaltending change at the same time, with Pickard replacing Talbot.
McDavid added third and final goal at 12:05 of the final period, splitting the Czech defence and roofing a shot over the glove of Furch.
Talbot and Pickard split the shutout right down the middle, making 11 saves apiece.
The Canadians will depart Prague on Wednesday for St. Petersburg, Russia, where they will play their preliminary round games at the world championship.
Matt Duchene on being back in the Team Canada jersey:
“[The game] brought back great memories from last year’s win. We are only to get better as the tournament goes on.”
Head coach Bill Peters:
“This is an exciting time for our team; we now have the complete group together. This is an energetic young team that has a lot of speed. [This game] was the first of four phases for us – we are excited to start the preliminary-round games. Everything builds from this point on.”
Team Canada went undefeated at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic, on its way to its first gold medal in eight years. Since 1931, Canada has won the world championship 19 times – not counting the years when Olympic Winter Games gold-medallists were also considered world champions. The country has also collected 11 silver medals and six bronze in that timespan.