RIGA, LATVIA – Canada’s 2003 Men’s World Championship team played an exhibition game on Wednesday evening, beating Latvia by the score of 5-3 in front of a sold out crowd of 5,100 screaming Latvian fans. Daniel Briere had a goal and two assists and was named player of the game, while Dany Heatley had two goals to pace Canada.
Latvia opened the scoring at 13:18 of the first period when Vadims Romanovskis beat Canadian goalie Sean Burke. Canada rebounded when Briere picked the puck up behind his own net, and went end to end to even the score at 1-1.
Jay Bouwmeester put Canada up 2-1in the second period with a wrist shot from the right point that beat Latvia goaltender Edgars Masalskis on the short-side. Latvia scored at 33:27 to even the game at 2-2, but Jan Alston of Team Canada, who plays for Zurich in the Swiss A league and scored the winning goal at the 2002 Spengler Cup for Canada, made the score 3-2 for Canada at the end of two periods.
Dany Heatley scored two goals in the 3rd period, the first at 18 seconds into the period to put Canada up 4-2. Latvia scored at 50:40, when Heatley sealed the win for Canada with 1:27 left in the game.
Sean Burke, a member of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, played the first two periods, while Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers played the 3rd period for Canada.
Canada will be departing Latvia on Thursday morning for the 2003 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championship, taking place in Finland, April 26-May 11, 2003. At this year’s Championship in Finland, Canada is in a preliminary round group with: Belarus, Latvia and Sweden. Canada's first game at the 2003 IIHF World Hockey Championship will take place in Turku, Finland on April 26 versus Belarus (TSN/RDS, 9:00am ET).
Canada’s roster currently stands at 20 players – three goaltenders, four defensemen and 13 forwards. Team Canada General Manager Steve Tambellini expects to name additional players prior to Canada’s first game.
Andy Murray, Head Coach of the LA Kings, leads Canada behind the bench as Head Coach. Mike Pelino (CHA), Barry Trotz (Nashville) and Rob Cookson (Calgary) will be Murray’s assistant coaches.