Eberle, Canada top Belarus at world championships
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Canadian players celebrate a goal against Belarus at the IIHF World Championships. (REUTERS/Petr Josek)
Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle scored a pair of goals as Canada got off to a winning start at the 2011 IIHF World Championships on Friday.
Eberle’s goals bookended a 4-1 win over Belarus in Kosice, Slovakia on the opening day of the tournament.
Elsewhere, Germany surprised Russia 2-0, Switzerland beat France 1-0 and the host Slovakia beat Slovenia 3-1.
Jeff Skinner and John Tavares added the others for Canada, while James Reimer, making his first appearance with the national team at any level, turned away 21 shots to record the victory in goal.
Eberle opened the scoring early in the contest, re-directing an Evander Kane centering pass past Belarus goaltender Andrei Mezin.
Belarus tied the game with 34 seconds left in the opening period, as Andrei Stepanov beat Reimer from in tight following a giveaway from Canadian defenceman Luke Schenn behind the net.
In the second, Skinner, the Carolina Hurricanes rookie, put Canada up by a goal, lifting a shot over the shoulder of Mezin from in tight.
Belarus had a couple of good chances to tie that game as Mikhail Grabovski, the team’s lone NHLer, was twice denied by his Toronto Maple Leafs teammate, Reimer, from in tight.
Later in the period, Tavares, who was name Canada’s player of the game, increased his team’s lead, coming in off the wing, faking a shot then beating Mezin from a tight angle.
Eberle added a fourth, picking up the spoils after Dion Phaneuf fired a shot off the crossbar, which dropped behind Mezin and sat on the goal line.
Chris Stewart had an opportunity to add a fifth, but was stopped by Mezin on a penalty shot.
Canada continues the tournament on Sunday when they take on France. They’ll conclude the group portion of the event Tuesday against Switzerland.