RENFREW (Ontario) - Jim Hiller of Cranbrook, B.C., scored with nine seconds left in the game to lift Canada's national hockey team to a 6-5 win tonight over the Czech Republic before a capacity crowd in Renfrew, Ontario.
The Canadians and Czechs played to ties in the first three games of the tour, 2-2 in Brampton, 4-4 in Bracebridge, and a 6-6 draw in New Market.
Tonight's game was the final in a four-game series through Ontario, before both squads join up with the Russian national team for the Father David Bauer Cup in Waterloo, Ontario.
The Father David Bauer Cup, being played at the Waterloo Recreation Complex, begins on Thursday with Canada and the Czechs facing off again, followed by the Russians and Czech Republic on Friday, March 29, Canada and Russia on national television (TSN and RDS) on Saturday at 1 p.m., and the final on Sunday, March 31.
The Canadians, playing in their 46th game of the season, fought back from a 5-1 second period deficit to tie the game with less than two minutes left to play on a goal by Mark Kaufmann of Vancouver. Hiller notched the winner with just nine seconds to go in the game for the 6-5 victory.
Canada's other goals were scored by Jeff MacLeod of Dartmouth, N.S., Curtis Bowen of Kenora, Ontario, David Matsos of Burlington, Ontario, and local favourite Dale McTavish of Eganville, Ontario.
Mark Cavallin of Mississauga, Ontario, started the game in goal for Canada, but was replaced by Andrew Verner of Weston, Ontario, at the four minute mark of the second. Cavallin was beat four times, while Verner earned the win, letting in only one goal.
"Once the guys settled down, they kept to the game plan laid out by Tom (Renney, head coach) and Mike (Johnston, assistant coach), and in the end it help them get their win," James Archie Mulligan of the Kanata Valley Lasers Junior A team and guest coach with Team Canada for the day.