One year ago Friday, France defeated Russia 2-1 at the 2013 IIHF World Championship thanks to a tie-breaking goal from Antoine Roussel and 28 saves from Florian Hardy.
Maybe it’s something about the date, but the French did it again on Friday, this time upsetting Canada 3-2 after a shootout in the opening game of the Worlds for both sides. Stephane Da Costa scored twice and Cristobal Huet made 34 saves in the win.
One of those 34 saves from Huet came in spectacular fashion with the game tied 1-1 late in the second period and Canada on the power play. Defenseman Morgan Rielly took a cross-ice pass in the middle of the right face-off circle and fired a wrister at what was a lot of empty space in the net. Huet, however, had other ideas:
After winning the 2010 Stanley Cup backing up Antti Niemi with the Chicago Blackhawks, Huet was loaned out to HC Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland. He then moved on to Lausanne HC, helping them win promotion after signing a four-year deal when the 38-year old failed to draw interest from NHL sides.
Explained Huet, via IIHF, about the save afterward: "I was beat, but you know, inspiration."
"It’s huge for us," said Huet. "This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s two tournaments in a row that we have beaten a big team and that gives us confidence that we can play anyone if we play structured and play with passion and good defense first.
"We don’t have the talent of Canada, Sweden, Russia, but we have to play as a team and frustrate our opponents."
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