TOEWS SCORES TWICE; CANADA CLINCHES GROUP A
TORONTO – Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg, Man./Chicago, NHL) scored twice and Corey Crawford (Montreal, Que./Chicago, NHL) earned his first-ever international win as Canada beat Europe 4-1 to claim top spot in Group A at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Toews picked up an assist as well on Wednesday night.
Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL) and Logan Couture (London, Ont./San Jose, NHL) also scored, as Canada outshot Europe 46-20.
Crosby gave Canada an early lead, scoring only four minutes in against Europe, a team of players from eight different countries. When Jay Bouwmeester (Edmonton, Alta./St. Louis, NHL) shot wide from the point, Crosby took the rebound off the end boards and tucked the puck in the side of the net.
Canada hit its stride as the period played on. Only the stellar goaltending of Jaroslav Halak prevented more goals. With three minutes to go, he robbed Steven Stamkos (Markham, Ont./Tampa Bay, NHL) – standing only a step outside the blue paint – with a glove save. Two minutes later he stoned a wide-open Brad Marchand (Hammonds Plains, N.S./Boston, NHL) twice at the side of the net.
Off the ensuing face-off, though, Canada finally beat the European goaltender, with Toews deflecting in a shot from Matt Duchene (Haliburton, Ont./Colorado, NHL).
Europe enjoyed more time in the offensive zone to start the second period, but was unable to generate much on net as Canada quickly closed off the shooting lanes.
Applying a different approach, Marian Hossa drove toward the goal line, where his bad-angle shot eluded Crawford and cut Canada’s lead to one.
Toews restored the two-goal lead 10 minutes later when he kept the puck on a two-on-one.
Up to that point the period had been the team’s flattest in the tournament, but a second goal from Captain Serious got the subdued crowd inside the Air Canada Centre back out of their seats.
Late in the third period, with Marchand and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare sitting for off-setting minors, Couture pounced on a loose puck out front and roofed it for his first goal of the World Cup.
Canada will face the second place finisher in Group B, either North America or Russia, in the semifinals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).