Canada downs Swiss 4-1

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

KLOTEN, SWITZERLAND - Cam Ward didn’t get a watch like Devan Dubnyk did Sunday in Fribourg.

But he should have.

The Carolina Hurricanes netminder had to make about the same number of saves as Dubnyk and play pretty much the same game.

Once again the goalie was Canada’s best player in a pre-tournament game against Switzerland.

This time it was 4-2 in regulation instead of 2-1 in a shootout, as Team Canada warmed up for the world hockey championships which begin Friday in Finland.

Instead of Ward, the watch went to John Tavares of the New York Islanders, who scored a goal and added an assist.

Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets, Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks and Jeff Skinner of the Hurricanes scored Canada’s other goals.

The scene in Kloten at the arena, where Canada played at the 2010 world championships, was much more reserved than in Fribourg, where Canada scored the shootout win over the Swiss.

While there was a capacity crowd of 7,019, and while there was much soccer-style singing from the standing-room section at one end of the arena, it was otherwise much more in line with the demeanour you’d expect in the banking capital of the world.

Kloten, twinned with Cape Canaveral, Fla., is to Zurich what Leduc is to Edmonton, with the airport within municipal boundaries. It is home to the Kloten Flyers, the never-been-relegated Swiss league team known for producing players for Switzerland’s national team.

Ward, the native of Sherwood Park, was kept exceptionally busy. The two goals he gave up 21/2 minutes apart in the second period came on consecutive Swiss power plays by Roman Wick and Simon Moser.

Ward said he wanted the work.

“There are adjustments you have to make as a goaltender when you come over here to play on the big ice surface,” said Ward, who won a gold medal in Moscow in 2007 and ended up with silver at the only world championships ever held in Canada in 2008, split between Halifax and Montreal and played on the smaller NHL-sized surface.

“Everything is different with the angles. There’s a lot more space and a lot more movement for a goalie. You really have to be aware of seam passing, which you don’t have to really concern yourself with in the NHL.

“I felt like I had the work I wanted to have to get the feel of the puck. And that’s a tough team to play. They really take advantage of the open ice and are real patient at waiting for their breaks. It makes for a tight game.

“When you haven’t played for three weeks, you wonder where you’ll be at when you get back in a game, but I felt like my old self. I’m looking forward to getting the tournament started.”

Ward will get the start against Slovakia Friday in Helsinki. Canada plays the U.S.A. Saturday and will see Switzerland again next Wednesday.

The Swiss have been relatively successful against Canada recently. In the last four official meetings, Switzerland won in 2006 at the Olympics, 2010 world championships and lost in overtime in both the 2010 Olympics and 2011 Worlds.

Ward wasn’t the only player in his first game.

Last year’s Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks nemesis (there are less kind adjectives) Alex Burrows played on the same line together. They’ll be met up by Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf Wednesday in Helsinki.

Perry and Burrows at least practised with Team Canada the day before.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a different story.

“I got off the plane at 7 a.m., arrived at the hotel at 8:30, left the hotel for the morning skate at 9 a.m., was on the ice at 10:15,” said the San Jose Sharks defenceman.

“And I felt great. I hadn’t played in a week, but I had a nap and I felt good. I’m glad I’m here. And I’m glad I had this game before we start playing for keeps.”

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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