December 29, 2005
VANCOUVER (CP) - Canada secured at least second place in its pool at the world junior hockey championship with a 4-0 win over Norway on Thursday and now turns its attention to top spot and a showdown with the U.S.
Canada (3-0) concludes the round-robin Saturday with a much-anticipated game against the Americans that will likely determine first place in Group A. The Americans (2-0) take on the Swiss (1-1) Friday, while Canada has the day off.
Cam Barker of the Medicine Hat Tigers, David Bolland of the London Knights, team captain Kyle Chipchura of the Prince Albert Raiders and Val-d'Or defenceman Luc Bourdon scored for Canada.
Michael Blunden of the Erie Otters and 17-year-old North Dakota freshman Jonathan Toews each had two assists.
The winner of each of the two pools earns a bye to the semifinals, while the second-place team in each group crosses over to play the third-place team in the other group in Monday's quarter-finals.
Norway (0-3) is making its first appearance at the top-tier world junior hockey championship since 1991. The Norwegians earned promotion by winning one of two second-tier world championships. Latvia, in Pool B, is the other promoted country.
Most of Thursday's game was a snoozer because Russian referee Rafail Kadyrov rarely removed the whistle from his mouth. He has obviously taken the International Ice Hockey Federations instruction to crack down on hooking and obstruction to heart, calling 21 minors in the first 33 minutes of the game.
He called 45 in total and incurred the wrath of the 16,083 at Pacific Coliseum several times as the game had little flow and the Canadians were unable to generate any intensity.
When there was a break in the penalty-box parade in the second period, the spectators saw some actual hockey. Canada was able to begin generating momentum at that point, rattling off three goals in a two-minute span, starting with Bolland's power-play goal at 14:50.
The Canadians took exception to Stian Hoygard running Pogge in the final seconds of the game and players from both sides scuffled. Canadian head coach Brent Sutter frantically waved his players to get out of the melee because he didn't want them slapped with suspensions.
Bourdon took a Toews pass from the opposite boards and his shot from the faceoff circle beat Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen high stick-side at 16:41 o the second period. It was Bourdon's first goal of the tournament and the first-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks drew raucous cheers from the stands.
Toews made a smart feed from the back boards out front to Chipchura, who beat Haugen with a backhand at 15:16.
Bolland and Dustin Boyd banged away at a rebound on Kris Letang's shot from the blue-line and Bolland got it by Haugen's outstretched leg for Bolland's third of the tournament.
The Norwegians put all their efforts into clogging up the goal-crease area when they were even strength to keep Canada out. It worked in the first period for the most part as Canada didn't throw much speed at Norway and instead tried to methodically work the puck in close.
Norway didn't get a shot on Pogge until 7:37 of the first period and that was during man advantage. Canada carried a 12-4 edge in shots heading into the second period.
Power-play quarterback Barker lugged the puck from the defensive zone to two steps across the blue-line and let a shot go that beat Haugen high glove side for a power-play goal at 15:27 for a 1-0 Canada lead.
The first period was so dull at times that one spectator yelled "Hit somebody'' three-quarters of the way through it.
Forward Benoit Pouliot was on the bench for the first 10 minutes of the opening period, serving time for his double minor in the third period of the previous night's 4-3 win over Switzerland. He hammered Norway's Dennis Sveum along the boards early in the second period, which Kadyrov ignored, although he'd whistled more benign checks at other points in the game, and that seemed to loosen the flow of the game.
CP Player of the Game - Canada's Luc Bourdon. Helped put the game away with his first goal of the tournament and also had an assist. Was solid in his own end and a steadying influence as Canada could have gone off the deep end in the face of so many penalties.
Notes: In their last meeting prior to Thursday, Canada defeated Norway 10-1 in 1990 ... Norwegian forward Joakim Jensen plays for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League ... Mathis Olimb played for the OHL's Sarnia Sting in 2004-05, but returned to his country to play in Oslo this season.