Canada ad­vances to world cham­pi­onship semi­fi­nal

Lethbridge Herald - - HERALD SPORTS ✦ TOP STORIES - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — COLOGNE

Canada had to over­come a vo­cal par­ti­san crowd and a fired-up Ger­many squad to keep its chances of a third straight world hockey cham­pi­onship ti­tle alive.

Mark Scheifele and Jeff Skinner scored as Canada sur­vived a scare with a tight 21 win over the co-host Ger­mans in quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion Thurs­day. The game was played in front of a deaf­en­ing sold­out crowd at Cologne’s Lanxess Arena.

“It was a phe­nom­e­nal en­vi­ron­ment,” said Canada’s coach Jon Cooper af­ter the game. “The chants, the singing, and they were very re­spect­ful to both teams. They re­ally cheered for their team. I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber be­ing part of that.”

“It’s def­i­nitely pretty cool but hon­estly, you don’t re­ally hear it dur­ing the game,” added Travis Konecny. “It’s just like play­ing an­other hockey game. Def­i­nitely dur­ing the breaks when they’re do­ing their chants and their drums, you hear them.”

Canada will face Rus­sia in Cologne in the first of Satur­day’s two semi­fi­nals, at 7:15 a.m.

Both teams traded chances in a high­tempo first pe­riod as the Ger­mans, who beat Latvia in a shootout Tues­day to qual­ify for the medal round for a sec­ond straight year, weren’t afraid to play a phys­i­cal game against Canada.

“They were able to re­ally slow us down with clutch­ing and grab­bing,” said Matt Duch­ene, “but other than that, we car­ried that game. Give them a lot of credit. They bat­tled hard and the home crowd got them go­ing.”

Scheifele fi­nally put Canada on the board on a power play with 2:49 to play in the open­ing frame when he roofed a Ryan O’Reilly pass from be­hind the net over sprawl­ing Ger­man net­min­der Philipp Grubauer.

In the sec­ond pe­riod, Canada out­shot Ger­many 20-0 be­fore Den­nis Sei­den­berg di­rected a puck on Calvin Pickard in the dy­ing sec­onds. Skinner scored his fourth goal of the tour­na­ment, and what proved to be the game-win­ner, when he con­verted a re­bound off a shot from Mike Mathe­son with 1:59 to play in the sec­ond.

“I think frus­tra­tion was start­ing to mount a lit­tle bit on our team,” Cooper said of the sec­ond pe­riod. “We had some pos­ses­sion time in the sec­ond. I think Skinner’s goal kind of calmed ev­ery­body down.”

Af­ter their come­back win on Tues­day, the Ger­mans came out with re­newed vigour in the third, de­ter­mined not to leave the tour­na­ment with­out a fight. They gen­er­ated two power plays, then Yan­nic Sei­den­berg got the Ger­mans on the board on a short-handed break­away with 6:39 left in reg­u­la­tion time.

“They kept send­ing their guys out of the zone look­ing for a break­away so we knew they were go­ing to try to press. They got one on us there,” said Konecny.

Fi­nal shots in the game were 50-20 in favour of Canada.

Fin­land will take on Swe­den in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal on Satur­day at 11:15 a.m. af­ter a 2-0 up­set over the United States, which fin­ished first in Group A in the pre­lim­i­nary round.

The Swedes ad­vanced with a 3-1 win over Switzer­land.

As­so­ci­ated Press photo

Canada's for­ward Mark Scheifele cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter scor­ing his side's open­ing goal at the Ice Hockey World Cham­pi­onships quar­ter-fi­nal be­tween Canada and Ger­many in the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Ger­many, Thurs­day.

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