HELSINKI – Matt Barzal scored the shootout winner to lift Canada to a 3-2 win over Switzerland on Tuesday in the preliminary round at the world junior hockey championship.
Brayden Point also scored in the shootout for the Canadians at Helsinki Ice Hall. Both Swiss shooters were stymied by netminder Mackenzie Blackwood.
Dylan Strome and Joe Hicketts scored in regulation time for Canada (2-1). Damian Riat and Dario Meyer had the goals for Switzerland (0-3).
Blackwood, who made 23 saves in his world juniors debut, sat out Canada’s first two games as he completed an eight-game suspension from the Ontario Hockey League.
Joren van Pottelberghe stopped 32 shots for the plucky Swiss side. Netminder Mason McDonald started Canada’s first two games of the tournament with Samuel Montembeault serving as the backup.
Switzerland took an early 1-0 lead when a shot from the point by Noah Rod was deflected off Riat and past Blackwood.
A second deflection gave Switzerland a 2-0 lead at the 15:37 mark of the first period. This time Meyer knocked a shot past a screened Blackwood, with the puck bouncing across the goal line as the Canadian goalie scrambled to stop it.
Strome scored with 23.6 seconds left in the opening period. He beat van Pottelberghe on the short side to give Canada a boost before the first intermission.
Hicketts tied it 2-2 near the midway point of the second period with a wrist shot from the point. It was the first goal scored by a Canadian defenceman at the tournament.
A scoreless third period and five-minute session of four-on-four overtime set up Barzal’s shootout heroics.
© 2015 The Canadian Press