QUEBEC CITY – Canada scored three power play goals, but it was not enough as Matt Cullen scored his hat trick goal with just five seconds remaining to give Team USA a 5-4 victory in the pre-World Championship game on Friday night.
USA scored the only goal of the first period when Cullen chipped in a cross-crease pass from Mark Parrish with less than two minutes left in the period to take a 1-0 lead.
Canada evened the game at 1-1 when Joe Thornton scored on the power play, with assists to Dan Boyle and Rick Nash at 2:13 of the second period. Canada added two more power play goals in the second period to go up 3-1. Hometown hero Simon Gagne scored on a tick-tack-toe play from Nash and Boyle at 4:42, and then Dany Heatley put a low shot off the post and past USA goalie Rick DiPietro at 6:20. Team USA took advantage of a loose puck behind the Team Canada goal, when Mike Knuble put a shot past Martin Brodeur to make the score 3-2. Canada changed goaltenders at 10:11, when Roberto Luongo relieved Brodeur. Luongo was tested early, but couldn’t stop a second USA rebound, when Cullen scored his 2nd goal of the night, and to tie the game 3-3 at the end of two periods.
Jan Stastny, son of Hockey Hall of Famer and Quebec Nordiques great, Peter Stastny, scored an unassisted goal at 9:36 of the third period. Canadian defenceman Sheldon Souray tied the game with just over seven minutes remaining, but Matt Cullen secured the USA victory with his hat trick goal with just five seconds remaining in the game to give USA a 5-4 win.
Canada will travel to Europe on Saturday, and will not practice. There will be no media availability for the team on Saturday as they travel to Latvia for a pre-competition game on Monday, April 25th in Riga. Canada will then play its final pre-competition game on Thursday, April 29 in Prague as they take on the Czech Republic.
Canada will open the 2005 World Championship on April 30th versus Latvia, broadcast LIVE on TSN and RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada, and on the radio via the FAN radio network (check local listings).
Canada has won back to back World Hockey Championships in 20.