DAVOS, Switzerland – Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./SC Bern, NLA) scored twice, including the go-ahead goal early in the third period, but Canada’s National Men’s Team dropped a 7-4 decision to HC Dinamo Minsk in the opening game for both Monday at the 2016 Spengler Cup.
The captain’s second goal came just 33 seconds into the third period and gave the Canadians a 4-3 advantage, but Minsk scored three times in less than eight minutes to take the lead for good.
Andrew Ebbett (Vernon, B.C./SC Bern, NLA) and Mason Raymond (Cochrane, Alta./Hockey Canada) had the other Canadian goals while Drew MacIntyre (Charlottetown, P.E.I./KHL Medvescak Zagreb, KHL) took the loss in goal, finishing with 12 saves.
Canada found itself in an early hole when Alexander Materukhin beat MacIntyre just 2:02 after the puck dropped, but Dustin Jeffrey (Camlachie, Ont./Lausanne HC, NLA) jumped on a turnover in the Minsk zone and found Ebbett alone in front to tie the game at 5:11.
Noreau put the Canadians ahead for the first time on a five-on-three advantage just shy of the 13-minute mark, hammering a point shot past Minsk netminder Ben Scrivens, and Raymond buried a rebound 61 seconds after that for another power-play goal and a 3-1 lead.
But Evgeny Kovyrshin pulled the KHL side within one before the end of the opening frame, and Evgeny Lisovets scored the lone goal of the second period to send the teams to the intermission tied 3-3.
Noreau struck early, taking a feed from Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man./EHC Biel-Bienne, NLA) and going to the backhand to restore the lead with another power-play goal, but that would be it for offence from the Canadians.
Dmitry Korobov redirected a pass from Nikita Komarov past MacIntyre at 6:30, Kovyrshin knocked in a rebound at 10:25 and Sergei Drozd added insurance at 14:20 to put the Belarus-based team in control.
Komarov added an empty-net goal with 1:35 to go to finish the scoring.
Canada finished with a 35-19 edge in shots on goal, and both teams were proficient on the power play, scoring three times in six chances each with the man advantage.
The loss means Canada will face tournament host HC Davos on Tuesday (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT) to finish its preliminary-round schedule.
Luke Richardson, head coach, Canada’s National Men’s Team:
“Our guys played well – out-chanced and we had our opportunities to extend our lead, but didn’t take advantage. A couple of defensive-zone mistakes and penalties resulted in opposition goals. We’ll continue to get better every game.”
Canada has appeared in 11 of the last 15 championship games at the Spengler Cup, winning the tournament in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012 and 2015. Overall, Canada’s National Men’s Team has won the Spengler Cup 13 times (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012, 2015) since first taking part in 1984.