|Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck skates in Team USA's IIHF World Championship preliminary opener against Belarus. (Credit: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images)
The IIHF World Championship opened up in Belarus on Friday with the United States and Canada beginning preliminary competition.
The Americans took down hosts Belarus 6-1 as Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes (0-1-1) was named Team USA's Best Player of the game. Canada, on the other hand, was upset by France 3-2 in a shootout.
UNITED STATES 6 - BELARUS 1
Playing at Minsk Arena, the red white and blue jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Belarus scored late in the second period to end former Panther Tim Thomas’ shutout bid (20 saves). Hayes set up the American's fourth goal by Colin McDonald with 2:18 left in the middle frame.
Hayes finished with a plus-2 on 10:31 of ice time while Vincent Trocheck centered the second line, winning nine of his 17 face-offs with 14:06 of ice time and Drew Shore had 9:41 of ice time. The United States plays again on Saturday against Switzerland.
FRANCE 3 - CANADA 2 (SO)
In the opening game at Chizhovka Arena, Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead midway through the third period on a his shot that slipped past France netminder Cristobal Huet. French forward Stephane da Costa's second power play of the game knotted the score at 2-2. French forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was the only one to find the back of the net as Huet stopped Kyle Turris, Sean Monahan and Matt Read in succession to secure the upset.
Gudbranson finished with a goal and 14:19 of ice time, while Jonathan Huberdeau had 9:58 of ice time. Canada is right back at it on Saturday, facing off against Slovakia.