Matt Ellison scored the winning goal in the second period and Canada held on to beat Switzerland 3-2 on Wednesday in its opening game at the Karjala Cup pre-Olympic hockey tournament.

Gilbert Brule and Eric O'Dell also scored for Canada, while Ben Scrivens made 19 saves.

"The first 20 minutes, we were just trying to get our legs going — playing with new players was a bit tough off the start, but as the game went on we started getting our chances and it went well," said O'Dell. "[Getting the goal] felt good."

Romain Loeffel scored with less than two minutes left for the Swiss, but the co-hosts couldn't find the game-tying goal with goaltender Jonas Hiller on the bench for an extra attacker.

Michael Fora also scored for Switzerland, while Hiller stopped 22 shots.

Canada's next match is Friday against Sweden.

The tournament will serve as an audition for players looking to crack Canada's roster for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

The 2018 Olympic hockey tournament will be the first without NHL players since the 1994 Lillehammer Games.