|Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck skates in Team USA's IIHF World Championship preliminary opener against Belarus. (Credit: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images)
The IIHF World Championship opened up in Belarus on Friday with the United States and Canada beginning preliminary competition.
The Americans took down hosts Belarus 6-1 as Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes (0-1-1) was named Team USA's Best Player of the game. Canada, on the other hand, was upset by France 3-2 in a shootout.
UNITED STATES 6 - BELARUS 1
Playing at Minsk Arena, the red white and blue jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Belarus scored late in the second period to end former Panther Tim Thomas’ shutout bid (20 saves). Hayes set up the American's fourth goal by Colin McDonald with 2:18 left in the middle frame.
Hayes finished with a plus-2 on 10:31 of ice time while Vincent Trocheck centered the second line, winning nine of his 17 face-offs with 14:06 of ice time and Drew Shore had 9:41 of ice time. The United States plays again on Saturday against Switzerland.
FRANCE 3 - CANADA 2 (SO)
In the opening game at Chizhovka Arena, Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead midway through the third period on a his shot that slipped past France netminder Cristobal Huet. French forward Stephane da Costa's second power play of the game knotted the score at 2-2. French forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was the only one to find the back of the net as Huet stopped Kyle Turris, Sean Monahan and Matt Read in succession to secure the upset.
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