PRAGUE (AP) — Connor Bedard scored twice and Canada opened its title defense at the ice hockey world championship by beating newcomer Britain 4-2 on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Bedard, coming off a great rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks, netted twice in a four-minute span of the second period to put the Group A game in Prague out of reach.

Canada had to rally from a goal down despite outshooting Britain 12-3 in the opening period and 34-15 overall.

Liam Kirk put Britain 1-0 ahead on a power play eight minutes into the game, but the lead lasted just 30 seconds as Michael Bunting found the back of the net from the point.

Brandon Hagel put the defending champions ahead 5:45 into the second period with a shot high into the roof of the net.

Then it was Bedard’s turn.

The teenager beat goaltender Jackson Whistle (30 saves) midway through the frame for his first goal at the senior worlds. He made it 4-1 after Nick Paul fed him with a perfect pass.

Ben O’Connor scored in the third period for Britain.

In Ostrava, Kazakhstan defeated France 3-1 in their opening Group B game.

In another Group B match, last year’s bronze medalist Latvia had to dig deep to overcome another newcomer in the top division, Poland, 5-4 in overtime. Latvia captain Kaspars Daugavins scored the winner with 1:31 remaining.

In Group A, Denmark cruised past Austria 5-1 .

The United States hopes to recover from an opening 5-2 loss to Sweden in a Group B game against Germany later Saturday while the Czech Republic meets Norway in Group A.


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