Minsk, Belarus (4E Sports) – Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward scored his second power-play goal in the third period to carry Canada to a 3-2 triumph over Norway Tuesday in the final game of preliminary-round action at the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Chizhovka Arena.
With the win, Canada (6-1, 18 points) claimed top seed in the eight-team Group A field.
The Canadians, which will take on Finland in the quarterfinals Thursday, were assured that they will not face unbeaten Russia unless both teams advance to the gold-medal game Sunday.
Mark Scheifele also scored while James Reimer recorded 14 saves for the Canadians, who outshot the Norwegians, 42-16.
“It was a long game but we weren’t down and out or anything,” Ward said. “We felt good about ourselves. We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. We just got to capitalize on special teams.”
Anders Bastiansen and Mads Hansen scored while Steffan Soberg made 39 saves for Norway (2-5, seven points).
Meanwhile, the United States moved into second place in Group B after a 5-4 win over Germany.
Goalie Tim Thomas made 24 saves to earn his fifth victory in seven starts at the tournament as the United States improved to 5-2 with 14 points, ahead of Belarus (4-2, 12 points), which must still play Russia Tuesday.
The Americans will play their quarterfinal-round match on Thursday against an opponent to be determined.
Hobey Baker Award-winner Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and three assists and defenseman Jake Gardiner chipped in with two assists in a game that the United States never trailed.
German forward Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists.
In other preliminary-round games, Slovakia downed Denmark, 4-3; and Switzerland beat Latvia, 3-2. All four teams were already eliminated from quarterfinal round play.