France upsets Canada at world hockey championship

France's players celebrate after defeating Canada in their world hockey championship game at...

France's players celebrate after defeating Canada in their world hockey championship game at Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus, May 9, 2014. (VASILY FEDOSENKO/Reuters)

Lance Hornby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:42 PM ET

The souffle is ruined.

In an ominous beginning to Canadas medal hopes at the 2014 world hockey championships in Minsk, Belarus, France pulled off a major upset, beating the Red and White 3-2 in a shootout.

Greybeard French goalie Cristobal Huet turned aside 34 shots, including all three in the tiebreaker. The French also came back from a 2-1 third-period deficit right after Erik Gudbranson of the Florida Panthers put Canada in the lead.

It was only the second time in 10 meetings that France has beaten Canada at the worlds, while it was also the first tournament opener Canada has dropped since 1997. That was to Sweden, in a year Canada recovered to win the gold.

The game featured an unlikely goaltending duel, 38-year-old Huet against James Reimer, the Maple Leaf whose inability to steal some points for his NHL team down the stretch was partly to blame for Toronto missing the playoffs. Huet last played in the NHL in 2009-10 for Chicago.

Huets best stop was a diving power play glove save on a dumbfounded Morgan Rielly, as the Leaf rookie was left staring at the top corner. Reimer did come up big throught the game, espceially during back to back 5-on-3s for France that carried over late in the second period to early in the third. Troy Brouwer took two consecutive minors, one for slashing Huet.

Stephane Da Costa, who spent some time with the Ottawa Senators, beat Reimer from a tight angle in the first period on a rebound and tied it on his second power play goal when Braydon Coburn gave it away behind his net. Flyer teammate Brayden Schenn was alone in the slot for a power play wrister that zipped past Huets glove on Canads first goal.

Reimer stopped the first two French efforts in the shootout, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare beat him stick side. Kyle Turris, Sean Monahan, and Matt Read were unsuccessful shooters for Canada.

Canada plays Slovakia on Saturday, with Reimers one-time Leaf partner Ben Scrivens getting the start.


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