Canada moves to quarterfinals
KOSICE, Slovakia -- Canada advanced to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship after beating Norway 3-2 on Saturday, and the United States moved into position to do the same.
The Americans came back from a goal down to beat France 3-2.
Canada leads Group F with a perfect 10 points. The team's last group game is against Sweden on Sunday. The U.S. team has seven points and plays Switzerland in its last qualifying game on Sunday.
"If we play the right way we have a great chance," U.S. captain Mark Stuart said.
Finland rallied to overcome Slovakia 2-1, handing the tournament host its fourth straight loss.
Derek Stepan tied the game for the United States with his second goal of the tournament after Sacha Treille had given France a surprising lead 5:25 into the opening period. Stuart put the Americans ahead early in the middle period, and Andy Miele set up the third goal for Chris Kreider on a power play. It was Miele's debut game at worlds.
France cut the lead to 3-2 on a power-play goal by captain Laurent Meunier, but the Americans held on.
Jason Spezza, John Tavares and James Neal scored for Canada for a 3-0 lead before Norway pulled two goals back, by Ken Andre Olimb and Marius Holtet within 1:13 in the third period.
"Both teams played really hard, it was very much like an NHL game," Canada coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Both teams were competing at a very high level.
"It was a good test for us to get ready. It doesn't surprise me they came back and battled, that's the way they are."
Olympic gold medalist Canada is looking for its 25th world title and possible revenge after losing in the final in 2008 and '09 and in the quarterfinals last year.
Captain Rick Nash set up Spezza for his third goal of the tournament.
"You've got to score first against some of those teams or it's going to be a long, long night for you and you get frustrated," Spezza said.
Tavares scored his fourth goal at worlds midway through the middle period on a breakaway. Nash assisted Neal for the third goal in the final period.
"I just caught one of the defensemen flat-footed," Tavares said about his unassisted goal. "I'm just trying to do right things, listen to the coaching staff. We have pretty good players. We're just trying to build on the success we already have."
Norway remains at five points and faces a must-win match against France on Sunday.
"OK we lost, but so far we are very satisfied with the team, so we look forward to the next game against France," Norway coach Roy Johansen said.
Tuomo Ruutu led the comeback for Finland, scoring twice in the third period after Marian Gaborik had given Slovakia a 1-0 lead in the first.
In Bratislava, Denmark won a shootout to beat Germany 4-3, but it was not enough for the team to advance with two points and one game left. Germany has eight points and has reached the quarterfinals.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press