Ice Hockey: Favourites Canada eye third consecutive World Championship title

Canada will take some stopping when they go in search of a third consecutive Ice Hockey World Championship title.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper has a strong squad at his disposal for the tournament in Cologne and Paris, which gets under way on Friday.

Canada beat Finland to retain their crown last year and the experienced Cooper is the man charged with the task of masterminding a third consecutive triumph in his first spell in charge of his country.

Mitch Marner and Nathan MacKinnon will provide firepower up front, while Matt Duchene, Mark Scheifele, and Ryan O'Reilly will strive to add another gold medal to their collection.

Cooper can call upon a good blend of youth and experience as the defending champions prepare to take on the Czech Republic in their Group B opener in Paris on the opening day of the tournament.

Canada have won 19 of their last 20 World Championship games and are strong favourites to continue their dominance.

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Russia had to settle for bronze with home advantage 12 months ago and will be expected to mount another strong challenge this month.

Having been runner-up to Canada two years ago, Russia are desperate to claim an elusive gold medal and Oleg Znarok's side will look to make a statement in their first Group A match against Sweden at LANXESS arena in Cologne on Friday.

The United States take on hosts Germany in the other Group A game at the same venue later in the day, while Finland and Belarus take to the ice in Paris before Canada and Czech Republic lock horns.

Slovakia, Latvia, Denmark and Italy are also in Group A, while Switzerland, Norway, Slovenia and France are in Group B.

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