CANADA EDGES GERMANY, BOOKS SEMIFINAL DATE AT WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
COLOGNE, Germany – Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, Ont./Winnipeg, NHL) and Jeff Skinner (Toronto, Ont./Carolina, NHL) scored the goals, and Canada’s National Men’s Team held off a game Germany to earn a 2-1 quarter-final win Thursday at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
The Canadians will face Russia in the semifinals on Saturday (9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT). Canada has split its 16 all-time meetings with the Russians; the last came in the 2015 gold medal game, a 6-1 Canadian win.
Playing in front of a decidedly pro-German crowd in Cologne, Canada dominated for long stretches, outshooting the tournament co-hosts 50-20, but German netminder Philipp Grubauer was fantastic, keeping the result in doubt.
With the game scoreless late in the first period, the Canadian power play went to work; the puck made its way around to Ryan O’Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL), who found Scheifele in the slot for a quick shot that beat Grubauer to the far side.
Canada has been deadly with the man advantage through eight games, scoring 13 goals on 29 chances for a 44.8% success rate. Only the Russians have been better, clicking at 51.9%.
Canada was at its best in the second period, owning the puck and holding a massive 20-1 advantage in shots on goal – the lone German shot came with less than five seconds to go in the frame, from the neutral zone.
But the Canadians could only manage a single goal; after Michael Matheson (Pointe-Claire, Que./Florida, NHL) walked the line and got a wrist shot through to Grubauer, Skinner reached to knock the rebound past the German puck-stopper to double the advantage to 2-0.
Germany picked up the pace in the third, directing 12 shots at Canadian goaltender Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Colorado, NHL) – four more it had in the first two periods combined.
Yannic Seidenberg finally solved Pickard with 6:39 to go, making good on a shorthanded breakaway, but that would be as close as the Germans would get.
Canada is into the semifinals for the third year in a row, two wins away from going back-to-back-to-back at worlds for the first time since 1950-52.