Canada’s decision to fill its roster with veterans playing overseas paid big dividends in its 5-1 victory against Switzerland Thursday.
Rene Bourque scored twice, Derek Roy added three assists and Maxim Noreau registered two points as Canada looks to defend its Olympic title.
Wojtek Wolski tallied a highlight-reel goal and an empty-netter in Canada’s first of three games in the preliminary round.
Ben Scrivens made 26 saves in his Olympic debut.
Leonardi Genoni started for the Swiss but was pulled early in the second period when Canada extended its lead to 4-0.
Bourque scored his first of the tournament when he redirected Chris Lee’s pass into the back of the net at 2:57 of the first period. He also added a power-play tally early in the second period from point-blank range.
Less than a minute after Bourque’s second, Wolski split two Swiss defensemen and wired a wrist shot past Genoni into the top corner.
"We capitalized on the power play, and that's a big thing in these Games," Wolski said. "You've got to score on the powerplay [and] you've got to be good on the penalty kill, and we seemed to do that tonight."
Both teams played with a physical edge and delivered several big checks throughout the contest; a style that favored the experienced Canadian players.
"We knew that they would come like this, but we weren't ready to play that game," Swiss forward Simon Moser said. "They were harder, they won more battles and they deserved to win."
Noreau hammered home a power-play goal at 7:30 of the opening period when Canada took a two-goal lead. Bourque did not register a point on the play but was planted at the top of the crease and provided the necessary screen for Noreau’s shot to find twine.
Switzerland’s lone goal came on the power play at 7:33 of the final period. Moser tapped in Thomas Rufenacht’s rebound to avoid being shut out.