WARD’S THREE POINTS HELP CANADA CLINCH GROUP A
MINSK, Belarus – Joel Ward (North York, Ont./Washington, NHL) scored twice on the power play and added an assist and James Reimer (Morweena, Man./Toronto, NHL) made 14 saves to propel Canada to a 3-2 win over Norway in Tuesday’s preliminary round finale at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The victory is Canada’s sixth in a row, and clinches first place in Group A.
Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, Ont./Winnipeg, NHL) scored the other goal for Canada.
Norway’s goals came from defencemen Anders Bastiansen and Mads Hansen, while goaltender Steffen Soberg was stellar despite taking the loss, making 39 saves.
The Norwegians opened the scoring 13 minutes into the first period, with Bastiansen converting on a power play, the lone goal in a period that saw Canada outshoot Norway 15-5.
After failing on its four chances in the opening frame, the Canadian power play finally made good on the man advantage early in the second; Ward tipped in a Ryan Ellis (Freelton, Ont./Nashville, NHL) point shot to tie the game.
Norway responded less than 10 minutes later when Hansen snapped a shot past Reimer’s glove, but Canada answered back before the end of the period thanks to Scheifele, who buried the rebound of a Kevin Bieska (Grimsby, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) shot for the 2-2 goal.
Tied going into the third period despite outshooting the Norwegians 28-11 through the first 40 minutes, Canada finally took its first lead just past the midway mark of the final frame, scoring again on the power play.
Ward took a pretty pass from Jonathan Huberdeau (St-Jérôme, Que./Florida, NHL) and beat Soberg from in close for the game-winning goal, his second of the game and sixth of the tournament.
Ward’s six goals leaves him tied with Cody Hodgson (Markham, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) for the team lead.
“He’s had timely goals for us over here,” assistant coach Peter DeBoer said of Ward. “The whole story behind this guy is phenomenal since he was a late draft pick in junior and undrafted in the NHL.
“He’s a great story for kids across Canada to never lose hope of playing at a higher level.”
Canada will wait for the final preliminary round games to conclude Tuesday before finding out if it faces Finland or Latvia in Thursday’s quarter-finals.
“I think we feel our game is in a good place right now and we’re feeling confident obviously,” said DeBoer.
“It doesn’t matter who you draw as your opponent, we have to be constantly be ready to play another 2-1 game if we have to. There are no easy games.”