TAMPERE, Finland — The United States secured a quarterfinal spot at the ice hockey world championship on the last day of group play Tuesday. It only gets harder from here.
The U.S. knew it would qualify before stepping onto the ice against Norway, thanks to Sweden’s 1-0 win over Latvia earlier in the day. With the pressure off, the U.S. beat the Norwegians 4-2, with two assists from Alex Galchenyuk, to get back into the groove after its loss to the Czech Republic the day before.
That sets up a tricky quarterfinal against in-form Switzerland, which beat Germany 4-3 in a shootout to qualify with seven wins from seven games, the only team still unbeaten. Denis Malgin had a goal and an assist for Switzerland and leads the tournament with 12 points, while goaltender Reto Berra made 24 saves and shut out Germany in the shootout.
Canada eased to a 7-1 win over France as Pierre-Luc Dubois had two goals and an assist and Drake Batherson recorded four assists. Canada will take on Sweden in the quarterfinals, three months after they met at the same stage of the Olympic tournament, with Sweden winning that game 2-0.
Two goals in the first period set host nation Finland on course to beat the Czech Republic 3-0 as Jussi Olkinuora made 24 saves for the shutout.
Finland goes on to play Slovakia in the quarterfinals in a repeat of their Olympic semifinal game in February, while the Czech Republic takes on Germany.
A day after a shock win over Canada, Denmark missed out on the quarterfinals with a 7-1 loss to Slovakia as the 18-year-old Olympic tournament MVP Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist for Slovakia to move to a team-leading nine points.
Slovakia and Denmark finished group play level on points but Slovakia goes through on a better head-to-head record.