Top seed to Canada, North America stays alive

Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:14am EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada clinched the top spot in Group A by beating Team Europe, while North America stayed in the hunt for a semi-finals berth with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win over Sweden on Wednesday at the World Cup of Hockey.

Canada improved to a perfect 3-0 with a dominant 4-1 win boosted by two goals and an assist by Jonathan Toews and will meet either Russia or North America in Saturday's semi-finals.

Team Europe will play Sweden in the other semi-final.

"Big win for our team," Canada coach Mike Babcock told reporters. "We're set up good."

Sidney Crosby opened the scoring for Canada four minutes into the first period on a wrapround goal past goalie Jaroslav Halak, whose 42 saves including several sensational stops.

Toews, however, capitalized on a Halak turnover to double the lead late in the first period, when Matt Duchene intercepted the goalie's attempt to clear the puck from behind the net and threw it in front to Toews for an easy goal.

Marian Hossa made it 2-1 less than five minutes into the second period, beating Canada goalie Corey Crawford from a tight angle on the left side but Toews restored the two-goal lead with five minutes to go in the period wristing one in on a 2-1 break.

Logan Couture added the final goal with 2:27 left.   Continued...

Sep 21, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Team Canada center Logan Couture (39) celebrates his third period goal against Team Europe with teammates during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Team Canada won 4-1.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports