Titleholders Canada maintained their perfect record at the world ice hockey championships on Thursday sealing a late 3-2 win over tournament co-hosts France at a sold-out Paris-Bercy Arena.
France had been riding high after beating world silver medallists Finland (5-1) and Switzerland (4-3) but fell just short despite pushing the two-time defending champions all the way.
The French -- co-hosting the tournament with Germany -- lead until late in the second period thanks to goals from Olivier Dame-Malka and Damien Fleury before a Claude Giroux equaliser got Canada back on track.
That set the stage for a thrilling third period in which a French own goal following a mixup between defenseman Jonathan Janil and goaltender Florian Hardy gave the Canadians the three points.
Despite five minutes of superior numbers and several golden chances the French could not push for extra-time.
"It's a bit hard to swallow, we had a good match and we deserve more than zero points," lamented France winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Canada top Group B with 12 points ahead of Switzerland, who did not play Thursday.
The Czech Republic needed extra time to see off Norway 1-0, as both teams -- equal on seven points -- target the quarter-finals.
In Cologne, Russia also kept their unbeaten run beating Denmark 3-0 to stay top of Group A with 11 points ahead of Latvia, who suffered their first defeat falling 2-0 to Sweden.
© 2017 AFP