Toews has two goals, assist as Canada beats Europe to win Group A
TORONTO (AP) Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist and Team Canada easily beat Europe 4-1 on Wednesday night in its final preliminary round game in the World Cup of Hockey.
Canada won Group A and will face North America or Russia in the first semifinal Saturday night, with Russia getting the spot with a win Thursday in the preliminary round finale against Finland. Europe will play Group A winner Sweden in the semifinals.
''I didn't think either team probably had the emotion they've had,'' Canadian coach Mike Babcock said. ''Both teams knew they had advanced. You know, as much as I think our guys really tried to get the emotional level at a high level, we were casual with the puck. We made mistakes we don't normally make, and saying that, we had the puck a lot, could have scored lots of goals. And their goalie was good.''
Sidney Crosby and Logan Couture also scored, and Corey Crawford made 19 saves in his World Cup debut.
''That was pretty special, I've waited a long time,'' he said. ''Watching as a kid, watching Olympics, watching world juniors. It's a pretty special feeling to put that jersey on. Having friends and family and my parents here, it was a great feeling.''
Crawford gave up the only goal when Marian Hossa - normally his teammate with the Chicago Blackhawks - knuckled a puck past him from a sharp angle in the second period.
''I don't know what I was trying to do there,'' Crawford said. ''I'll probably hear about that the rest of the year.''
Jaroslav Halak stopped 42 shots for Europe.
''I thought Canada did an amazing job of getting in the lanes and taking away any opportunities we had,'' Europe coach Ralph Krueger said. ''But there's a lot of growth in this game for us. We're where we wanted to be at this point. We're in the semifinal.''
Heavy favorites entering the tournament, Canada has met expectations, easily beating three foes en route to the semifinals. The Canadians outscored the Czechs, Americans and Europeans 14-3, trailing only once and for less than 2 minutes. All but two players have produced at least a point.
''I think we feel like we can improve,'' Crosby said. ''I don't think it's anything specific. I think it's just probably just consistency in every area, just making sure that we're sharp, that we make the plays we need to make. There's always going to be momentum swings in games, and I think we've done a pretty good job when we don't necessarily have it, we've been able to get it back fairly quickly.''