Canada, the United States (Connor Hellebuyck) and Czech Republic (Ondrej Pavelec) are all in action tomorrow as the tournament kicks off at 9:15am CT.
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throughout the IIHF World Hockey Championship for complete coverage VIENNA, Austria
– Claude Giroux (Hearst, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL) and Tyler Ennis (Edmonton, Alta./Buffalo, NHL) had a goal and an assist each to lead Canada’s National Men’s Team past Austria 4-2 in pre-tournament game Wednesday.
It was Canada’s only game ahead of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, which gets underway Friday in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Jamie Fraser (Sarnia, Ont./Vienna, AUT) and Matt Duchene (Haliburton, Ont./Colorado, NHL) also scored for Canada.
After allowing two goals on eight shots in the opening period, goaltender Mike Smith (Kingston, Ont./Arizona, NHL) was perfect the rest of the way in picking up the win.
Raphael Herburger scored both goals for the Austrians. Bernhard Starkbaum took the loss in net.
The two sides have played each other 10 times at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, with the most recent meeting coming in 2004. That 2-2 tie broke Canada’s nine-game winning streak against Austria.
But only seven minutes in the Austrians showed that they wouldn’t be intimidated by history, when Herburger gave his team an unexpected lead.
Giroux, with assists from Ennis and Tyler Seguin (Brampton, Ont./Dallas, NHL), equalized for Canada less than three minutes later.
Canada’s offence would end up taking a backseat to its special teams the rest of the period. Jake Muzzin’s (Woodstock, Ont./Los Angeles, NHL) elbowing call at 11:28 was the first of three straight penalties called on the Canadians.
Just 23 seconds after Muzzin was sent off, Herburger beat Smith for his second of the game.
Canada hit the ground running to open the second, firing seven shots on Starkbaum in the first three minutes. Ennis, with help from Giroux and Muzzin, went blocker side on the seventh one to tie things up.
Three minutes later Fraser wired a point shot to give Canada its first lead. The defenceman, now in his third season with the Vienna Capitals, was helping Canada fill its line-up until its full roster could make it overseas.
Duchene added an empty-netter to provide some insurance and send Canada off to the Czech Republic on a winning note.
Canada and Austria will see each other again in 13 days when they face off in the preliminary round finale on May 12.