PRAGUE – Canada beat the Czech Republic 2-1 on Thursday, in the final pre-competition game for both teams as they prepare for the 2005 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championship which begins on Saturday in Austria.
Canada finished its pre-championship schedule with a 3-1-0 record, with victories over USA, Latvia and the Czech Republic and its only loss versus USA in Quebec City.
Linemates Joe Thornton and Simon Gagne did all of the scoring for Canada on Thursday, with each registering a goal and an assist.
The Czechs opened the game's scoring when Petr Prucha put a backhand shot past Roberto Luongo at 6:27 of the first period, to take a 1-0 lead after one period of play.
Canada came out flying in the second period, and Gagne capitalized with a low shot on a play just 1:22 into the period taking a nice pass from Thornton to even the game at 1-1 after two periods of play.
Thornton scored the game winning goal at 17:34 of the third period to give Canada the victory. Gagne shot wide of the net and the rebound came off the end boards to Thornton, who one-timed a slap shot past Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun.
Roberto Luongo played the entire 60 minutes for Canada, making several big saves in the Team Canada
win. Luongo stopped 37 of 38 shots for the win, while Czech goalie Vokoun made 31 saves. The
Czechs pulled Vokoun with 19 seconds left in the game, and almost tied it but Luongo made a big save on Petr
Sykora in the final seconds of the game.
The game was played in front of a capacity crowd of 13,287.
Czech forward Jaromir Jagr was not in the Czech team lineup, while Canada’s Ed Jovanovski and Martin Brodeur did not play.
Canada will travel to Innsbruck, Austria on Friday morning and will practice there in the late afternoon on Friday. Team Canada will open the 2005 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championship on Saturday, April 30 versus Latvia. The game will be broadcast live on TSN/RDS at 10am ET / 7am PT, as well as via the FAN radio network (check local listings).