Captain Shane Doan scored the winning goal early in the third period in a 4-2 preliminary round victory over Norway. A Norwegian lineup featuring just one player with any NHL experience was tied with Canada heading to the third period. Doan changed that 22 seconds in when he chopped a bouncing puck over Norwegian goalie Pal Grotnes.
Rick Nash, Jason Chimera and Justin Williams also had goals for Canada (2-0), which plays Slovakia on Wednesday. Goaltender Cam Ward stopped 21 of 23 shots.
“We do need to play better and we fully expect to,” said coach Andy Murray.
Lars Erik Spets and Jonas Andersen replied for Norway (0-2). Edmonton Oilers rookie forward Patrick Thoresen was the team’s lone NHLer.
“They surprised me,” Ward said. “They played extremely well and a lot better than what they get credit for.
“That first period they came out firing and controlling the play. We had to grit it out throughout the game to take over.”
Still, the Norwegian fans at Mytischi Arena felt the conditions were right for their team to pull off another major upset at this tournament. Seven years ago in St. Petersburg, Russia, Norway beat Canada 4-3 in what is considered the biggest victory in the country’s history.
They started the game by sitting back and limiting Canada’s chances early. Spets opened the scoring 9:29 into the first period when he spun around with the puck and beat Ward with a low shot.
Nash made it 1-1 at 13:24 with Canada on a power play. He came out from the side of the net and fired the puck past Grotnes, who was without his stick after being bumped by Doan.
Chimera gave Canada its first lead less than two minutes later with a wraparound goal off the rush. Jay McClement’s shot was stopped by Grotnes but the puck bounced in the corner to Chimera, who came around the goal to score.
“I think the first 10 minutes we were the best team out there and creating the most chances,” said Norway forward Patrick Thoresen. “I think we caught them a little (off guard).”
But the Norwegians held their own through the second period. Andersen’s wrist shot from the high slot tied the game 2-2 at 12:14 with Canada’s Jonathan Toews in the penalty box for continuing to play after having his helmet knocked off.
There were chances at both ends towards the end of the period, but the goalies were playing well. Grotnes made a glorious cross-crease pad stop on Nash before turning away Chimera on a short-handed breakaway.
The Norwegians were thinking about an upset as they headed into the third tied 2-2.
Doan’s early goal changed that before Williams made it 4-2 Canada at 9:44 of the third period with a shot through a crowd on the power play.
“We found ways to win two games that were a little closer that we would have liked,” said Doan. “We (haven’t) played our best hockey and we’re getting better.”
Notes: Public address announcer Nikolai Chigrin, 64, performed the same job during the 1972 Canada-Russia series . . . The only place you can buy beer at Mytischi Arena is in the press room . . . Norway’s highest finish at the top level of the world championship is fourth in 1951 . . . Canadian third-string goalie Chris Mason played for Valerengen IF Oslo in the Norwegian league during the NHL lockout.