Canada to face Belarus in quarterfinals of hockey worlds
PRAGUE (AP) Belarus secured the last spot in the quarterfinals of the hockey world championship by beating Norway 3-2 on Tuesday, while the United States beat Slovakia in overtime and Canada thrashed Austria in their final group games.
Captain Alexei Kalyuzhny, Dmitri Korobov and Andrei Kostitsyn all scored power-play goals to help Belarus reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Norway replied with goals from Patrick Thoresen and Mattias Norstebo.
''We were looking good at 3-0 but Norway are a good team and they came back hard,'' Belarus forward Andrei Stepanov said. ''It was hard at the end.''
Belarus will face Canada in the next round.
Jack Eichel scored on a wrist shot with 28 seconds left in overtime to give the U.S. a 5-4 victory over Slovakia as the Americans finished first in Group B with six wins and one loss. The result means the young U.S. team will meet Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
''It was great to get the goal there,'' said the 18-year-old Eichel, who is No. 2 on the 2015 NHL draft. ''It's good for us to win our bracket and be able to control our own destiny.''
In a repeat of last year's final and a matchup for second place in Group B, Finland downed defending champion Russia 3-2 after a penalty shootout. Joonas Donskoi scored the decisive goal in the shootout after he roofed a backhand with 2:19 remaining in regulation to tie the game.
Finland will play host nation the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, while Russia takes on Sweden.
The U.S. blew a 3-0 lead after goals from Ben Smith, Seth Jones and Anders Lee. Marian Gaborik, Adam Janosik, Vladimir Dravecky and Milan Bartovic put Slovakia ahead before Charlie Coyle tied the game at 4-4 with 52 seconds remaining in the second period to force overtime.
The Canadians wrapped up the group stage by routing Austria 10-1, getting two goals and two assists apiece from Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza.
''We played a really good 60 minutes, and obviously the score reflected it,'' Duchene said of Canada's second double-figure victory after crushing Germany 10-0.
''It obviously shows we have a lot of skill on this hockey team and everybody can score. Everybody's contributing pretty equally. That's a really good thing, a sign of a really good team.''
Canada rested Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby.
The Canadians got the remaining six goals from six different players - Tyson Barrie, Taylor Hall, Aaron Ekbland, Nathan MacKinnon, Jordan Eberle and Brayden Schenn.
''We want to get past the quarters and win it this year. We want to win this tournament,'' Duchene said.
Canada is looking for its 25th title. It last won in 2007 and has been waiting for a medal since winning silver in 2009.
The star-studded Canadian team dominated Group A with seven wins from seven games, scoring 49 goals on the way, to place first ahead of Sweden, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
''They're a skilled team, a team that's dangerous,'' Hall said of Belarus. ''They showed that through the tournament.''
In its final game, the Czech Republic edged Switzerland 2-1 after a penalty shootout with Michal Vondrka scoring the winner.
In a match of two bottom teams in Group A, France beat Latvia 3-2 after a penalty shootout. Austria and Slovenia will be relegated to the second-tier tournament next year.
All four quarterfinals games are scheduled for Thursday.