International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada claims top spot

Joel Ward scores two goals, assist in 3-2 win

Published 20.05.2014 15:31 GMT+3 | Author Peter Westermark
Canada claims top spot
MINSK, BELARUS - MAY 20: Canada's Joel Ward #42 celebrates after scoring Team Canada's first goal of the game during preliminary round action at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Canada beat Norway 3-2 in Tuesday’s early game at Chizhovka Arena. That means that they’ll face either Finland or Latvia in the quarter-finals.

Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal with ten minutes to go in the third period. Canada controlled play for much of the game, but remained patient despite having a goal disallowed and seeing a couple of pucks hit the framework. Power play was a key to the game, as Canada scored twice with the man advantage.

"t was a long game. We weren’t down and out or anything," said Ward, who also scored Canada's first goal and assisted on Mark Scheifele's tally. "We felt good about ourselves. We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. We just gotta capitalize on special teams."

Veterans Anders Bastiansen and Mads Hansen had the goals for Norway, which now heads home after failing to reach the quarter-finals. Jonas Holos, Morten Ask and Ken Andre Olimb was named as the team's three best players of the tournament.

"I think we played pretty well. Of course, it would be nice to get some points, but we didn’t," said Norway's captain Anders Bastiansen. "We battled really hard at this World Championship. Maybe we deserved a little bit more points, but sometimes you lose these games. There’s not much more to say. I’m pretty proud of the guys and what we have done."

Canada had the best start, but after thirteen minutes it was Norway that would get the first goal. With Nathan MacKinnon in the box for slashing, Bastiansen chocked the Canadians and scored just five seconds into the man advantage. He won a race for the puck after a face-off and lifted a backhanded shot past James Reimer in the Canadian net.

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Ninety seconds later, Canada went on their second power play and many thought they had tied the game after Kevin Bieksa found the net, but the goal was disallowed due to a player in the crease.

"That was a different one," said Ward. "I’ve never seen that one before in my years of playing hockey. But it is what it is. We’re not going to let one call ruin the whole day for us."

With time winding down in the first, Canada got the opportunity to play with the two-man advantage for 37 seconds, with Alexander Bonsaksen and Steffen Sorvik in the box, but Canada took few shots and kept play mostly on the outside of Norway’s three-man unit.

In the second, Norway continued to take penalties. And on their fifth opportunity of the night, Canada scored to make it 1-1 when Joel Ward deflected a slap shot from Ryan Ellis through Soberg’s five-hole.

But Norway would regain the lead. Twelve minutes into the second, Mads Hansen raced in on a breakaway after a nice pass from Mathis Olimb and made no mistake alone with Reimer, scoring high on the glove side to make it 2-1.

The goal didn’t throw Canada off balance for long. Four minutes later, some strong play in Norway’s zone late in the second tied the game 2-2, as Mark Scheifele swept home a rebound after a shot from Kevin Bieksa.

With only ten seconds remaining in the second, Canada’s Kyle Turris had a shot hit the post, but the puck bounced out and it was still a tied game heading into the final round. And just 26 seconds in to the third, Norway continued to get the bounces as Sean Monahan’s rebound hit the crossbar.

But Canada would eventually get their third goal.  On their seventh play of the night, Joel Ward could finally put Canada ahead, after a nice pass from behind the net by Jonathan Huberdeau.

"I never have a bad day. I try to live by that philosophy, to be honest with you," said Ward. "I play pro hockey for a living. So I’m very thankful for what I do. Of course, I’m having fun. I’m happy to be here."

With three minutes to go, Kevin Bieksa was sent to the box for roughing Ken Andre Olimb. Norway pulled their goal two play 6-on-4, but Canada survived.

"I think maybe we deserved some more power plays too," said Bastiansen of the fact that Norway had two power plays in the game compared to seven for Canada. "There was a lot of hooking and stuff, but they didn’t call it. And at the end, I was a little bit frustrated by why they didn’t call any more on Canada. But that’s how it is. Maybe the big nations get a little bit more advantage than we do."

Canada outshot the Norwegians 42-16.

"It was one of those games where you really just have to grind it out and battle, because they protect so well," said Canada's goaltender James Reimer. "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."

Alex Burrows missed his second straight game for Canada after taking a hit to his knee in the game against Italy.

For Norway, Henrik Odegaard missed the game due to suspension and Morten Ask also missed the game after a slap shot hit his head in Norway’s last game versus the Chzech Republic.

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