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Canada, MacKinnon Advance to Worlds Quarters

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon and Reto Berra both helped their teams to 3-2 wins Tuesday on the final day of preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

But only one is moving on to the tournament quarterfinals.

MacKinnon, the Avalanche forward and youngest member of Team Canada, had a game-high seven shots, and Joel Ward (Capitals) scored twice on the power play and had an assist in Canada’s victory against Norway at Chizhovka Arena.

   Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

The Canadians (6-1, 18 points) outshot the Norwegians 42-16 and won Group A in the eight-team, two-pool format. They will play Finland, Group B’s fourth-place team, on Thursday, with the semifinals coming Saturday, where a match against either the United States or France would await.

The World Championship gold-medal game is scheduled for Sunday.

"It was a long game but we weren't down and out or anything," Ward said to the IIHF website Tuesday. "We felt good about ourselves. We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. [We’ve] just got to capitalize on special teams."

Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos was on the ice for 34:08 for Norway (2-5, seven),
which led 1-0 at the end of the first period and later went ahead 2-1 with just less than eight minutes to play in the second.

Mark Scheifele (Jets) tied the game 2-2 four minutes later for Canada, with help from Ward, who then put the Canadians ahead for good with nine minutes to play in regulation.

"It was one of those games where you really just have to grind it out and battle, because [the Norwegians] protect so well," said Canada goalie James Reimer (Maple Leafs). "They collapse so well. Sometimes you just pass the puck around the outside, but you can't really get to the good scoring areas. We're just happy that we grinded this one out."

MacKinnon had just one shot in the first period but followed with three apiece in the second and third periods. His slashing penalty seven minutes after the opening faceoff quickly turned into a deficit, after Norway scored its first goal of the game five seconds later.

MacKinnon scored a goal and had three assists in Canada’s journey through the preliminary round, and his four points overall were tied for the fourth most on the team.

Holos totaled a remarkable 225:34 of ice time in seven tournament games (about 32:20 per game) and was honored after Tuesday’s loss as one of Norway’s three best players in the tournament (Morten Ask, Andre Olimb).

Canada – Group A – 1st place (6-1, 18 points)
May 9 – L, 3-2 vs. France
May 10 – W, 4-1 vs. Slovakia
May 12 – W, 4-3 vs. Czechoslovakia
May 15 – W, 6-1 vs. Denmark
May 16 – W, 6-1 vs. Italy
May 18 – W, 3-2 vs. Sweden
May 20 – W, 3-2 vs. Norway


Yannick Weber (Canucks), Damien Brunner (Devils) and Dominik Schlumpf all scored for the Swiss against the Latvians, and Avalanche goalie Reto Berra had 26 saves in a 3-2 win at Minsk Arena.


Berra, acquired by the Avs from Calgary at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline, helped Switzerland (3-4, 10) win three of its final four games in the Championship, but the Swiss finished a point behind fourth-place Finland in the Group B standings.

Latvia (3-4, nine) would have secured that fourth-place spot with a victory Tuesday.

Berra let in just one shot—from Koba Jass at 1:57 of the second period—before Latvia pulled its goalie for an extra attacker in the final minutes and made it 3-2 on a goal from Zemgus Girgensons (Sabres) with 2:23 to play in regulation.

Berra finished 3-3 in the tournament and had a .902 save percentage with a 2.65 goals-against average.

Weber’s score 27 seconds into the second period put Switzerland on top 3-0 and proved to be the game winner.

Switzerland – Group B – 5th place (3-4, 10 points)
May 9 – L, 5-0 vs. Russia
May 10 – L, 3-2 vs. United States
May 12 – L, 4-3 vs. Belarus
May 14 – W, 3-2 vs. Germany
May 16 – L, 3-2 vs. Finland
May 17 – W, 6-2 vs. Kazakhstan
May 20 – W, 3-2 vs. Latvia

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