Patrick Sharp scored the go-ahead goal in the second period Tuesday as Canada defeated Switzerland 4-2 in its final exhibition game before the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ forward snapped a 2-2 tie as the Canadians downed Switzerland for the second straight game after Sunday’s 2-1 shootout win.
John Tavares and Andrew Ladd gave Canada a 2-0 lead on Tuesday before Roman Wick and Damien Brunner replied for the Swiss on the power play in the second.
Sharp also picked up an assist on Jeff Skinner’s empty-net goal.
Cam Ward started and picked up the win for Canada, which opens the tournament against Slovakia on Friday in Helsinki, Finland.
Sharp played on a line with Tavares and Skinner and said the trio is starting to get some chemistry.
“Lots of talent and speed,” Sharp said of his linemates. “I think today was just a much better game than the first. We were able to read off each other, made better plays, each one of us got a goal and a few points so it’s a positive sign going forward.”
Sharp and fellow Blackhawks’ teammate Duncan Keith joined the Canadian squad before Sunday’s exhibition game without taking part in a single practice.
“I think we were much better the second exhibition game than we were in the first and that’s the idea here going forward in the tournament – to get better and better every game,” Sharp said.
“You’ve got a lot of skilled players over here and it’s going to take some time to adjust to each other.
“I thought today was a step in the right direction.”
Sharp and the Blackhawks were eliminated in six games by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He says the world championship is a good way to try to end the season on a winning note.
“You get a call from your country and it’s always an honour to put the jersey on,” he said. “It’s a way to extend your season, come together with a group of guys and try to win a gold medal.”
Despite all working towards a common goal, Sharp added that seeing NHL opponents on your bench takes a little getting used to.
“You’re playing against rivals and then all of a sudden you’re teammates now and you’re buddies in the locker room,” he said.
“We’ve been working on our team chemistry and everyone here has a positive attitude and I think that’s going to be a key to our success.”
IHLC: With the victory, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 57th, which they won two days prior from Switzerland in a 2-1 shootout victory. This game also served as the last IHLC meeting between the two, who now both move on to the World Championships, co-hosted by Sweden and Finland. Canada will open their Worlds against Slovakia, with the game serving doubly as an IHLC title defense.
03:24 – GOAL – Tavares (Skinner, Sharp)
08:02 – PEN – Romy, hooking
17:59 – PEN – Methot, high sticking
30:49 – GOAL – Ladd (Kane)
31:29 – PEN – Tavares, holding
32:34 – PP GOAL – Wick (Ambühl, Bezina)
34:19 – PEN – Perry, tripping
34:37 – PP GOAL – Moser (Brunner, Bezina)
35:42 – GOAL – Sharp (Tavares, Methot)
36:13 – PEN – Plüss, hooking
54:34 – PEN – Ladd, hooking
58:05 – PEN – Ambühl, slashing
59:47 – PP GOAL – Skinner (Sharp)
W: Ward (29-31)
L: Stephan (20-24)
Goaltenders: Devan Dubnyk, Cam Ward. Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Duncan Keith, Marc Methot, Ryan Murray, Dion Phaneuf (C), Luke Schenn, Marc-Édouard Vlasic. Forwards: Jamie Benn, Alex Burrows, Jordan Eberle, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Adam Mitchell, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan O’Reilly, Corey Perry, Teddy Purcell, Patrick Sharp, Jeff Skinner, John Tavares.
Goaltenders: Reto Berra, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Goran Bezina, Severin Blindenbacher, Félicien Du Bois, Philippe Furrer, Robin Grossman, Luca Sbisa, Mark Streit (C), Patrick Von Gunten. Forwards: Andres Ambühl, Matthias Bieber, Damien Brunner, Denis Hollenstein, Michael Liniger, Simon Moser, Nino Niederreiter, Benjamin Plüss, Kevin Romy, Daniel Rubin, Morris Trachsler, Roman Wick.
Article Credit: Hockey Canada