Canada wins Group C; Italy, Germany advance

5/2/2007 - NHL

MYTISCHI, Russia -- Rick Nash scored the winning goal that gave Canada a 5-4 victory over Slovakia and the Group C preliminary-round title at the hockey world championships Wednesday.

Sweden also remained perfect with a third straight rout, 6-0 over Switzerland to head to the qualifying round having outscored its Group A opponents 21-3.

Earlier, Jason Cirone scored late in overtime to help Italy defeat Latvia 4-3 in Group A and avoid the relegation round. In Group C, Michael Wolf scored twice to lead Germany to a 5-3 victory over Norway and a place in the qualifying stage.

Canada was more energized than during its earlier games when it scraped past Germany 3-2 and took an unconvincing 4-2 win over Norway.

Nash tipped in Cory Murphy's slap shot from the blue line past Slovakia goaltender Jaroslav Halak's stickside at 9:02 in the third period.

Miroslav Satan had tied the game for Slovakia at 3:38 into the final period.

On Thursday, Slovakia plays the United States and Germany faces the Czech Republic. Canada plays Belarus and Italy will face host Russia on Friday.

Latvia, Norway, Ukraine and Austria head to the relegation round.