Mon, May 09, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Olympic champions beat Norway, clinch spot in quarter-final

Reuters, KOSICE, SLOVAKIA

Travis Zajac of Canada, left, fights for the puck with Anders Bastiansen of Norway during the Ice Hockey World Championship Group F qualification match between Canada and Norway at Steel Arena in Kosice, Slovakia, on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

Canada defeated Norway 3-2 on Saturday to advance to the -quarter-finals of the world ice hockey championships, while Finland’s Tuomo Ruutu denied hosts Slovakia a playoff place in front of their home crowd.

Russia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Germany advanced from Group E after the Slovaks and Denmark were eliminated.

In Group F, Jason Spezza, John Tavares and James Neal took Olympic champions Canada to a 3-0 lead before Norway fought back with goals by Ken Andre Olimb and Marius Holtet.

“We knew they would keep coming. It is just the way the games are these days, you shut it off for a couple of minutes and they find room,” Neal said. “We just got to keep on the gas pedal and not stand back, we have another tough game against Sweden coming up.”

Ruutu, who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes, silenced the home fans in Bratislava when he struck twice in the final period in Finland’s 2-1 victory over Slovakia.

“We were not good enough. It is just too bad, we had the team, we pushed, but something was missing. Everyone is disappointed, the fans and the team,” Los Angeles Kings’ Michal Handzus told reporters.

The US rallied from one down against France to take a a 3-1 lead through Derek Stepan, captain Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider, before Laurent Meunier grabbed a goal back for the French.

Denmark upset Germany 4-3 in a see-saw Group E match that was decided in the shootout. Austria defeated Slovenia 3-2 to record their first win in the tournament, while Latvia downed Belarus 6-3.

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