By Karel Janicek, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PRAGUE, Czech Republic: Belarus clinched the last spot in the quarterfinals of the hockey world championship by beating Norway 3-2 Tuesday.
Captain Alexei Kalyuzhny, Dmitri Korobov and Andrei Kostitsyn all scored power-play goals to help Belarus reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Norway replied with goals from Patrick Thoresen and Mattias Norstebo.
“We were looking good at 3-0 but Norway are a good team and they came back hard,” Belarus forward Andrei Stepanov said. “It was hard at the end.”
Belarus will face Canada on Thursday in the next round.
The Canadians wrapped up the group stage by routing Austria 10-1, getting two goals and two assists from both Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza.
“We played a really good 60 minutes, and obviously the score reflected it,” Duchene said of Canada’s second double-figure victory after trashing Germany 10-0.
“It obviously shows we have a lot of skill on this hockey team and everybody can score. Everybody’s contributing pretty equally, that’s a really good thing, a sign of a really good team.”
Canada rested Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby in the game.
The Canadians got the remaining six goals from six different players _ Tyson Barrie, Taylor Hall, Aaron Ekbland, Nathan MacKinnon, Jordan Eberle and Brayden Schenn.
“We want to get past the quarters and win it this year. We want to win this tournament,” Duchene said.
Canada is looking for its 25th title but last won in 2007 and has been waiting for a medal since taking home silver in 2009.
The star-studded Canadian team dominated Group A with seven wins from seven games, scoring 49 goals on the way, to place first ahead of Sweden, host Czech Republic and Switzerland.
“They’re a skilled team, a team that’s dangerous,” Hall said about Belarus. “They showed that through the tournament.”
The United States can clinch the top spot of Group B with a victory over Slovakia. If that happens, the young American team would face Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
Finland and defending champion Russia trail the Americans by one point will meet in another game later Tuesday.