|05-06-2005, 11:28 AM||#1|
lets go partner
Join Date: Oct 2004
Rick Nash lifts Canada past U.S. 3-1
Rick Nash is appearing in his first world hockey championship, but you wouldn't know it by the way he's playing.
* RELATED: 2005 World Championship Tracker
Rick Nash (left) celebrates with his Canadian teammates at the world hockey championship on Thursday. (CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn)
The 20-year-old forward netted a pair of goals and had an assist to lift Canada to a 3-1 victory over the United States Thursday in Innsbruck, Austria.
"He's a great player," said U.S. veteran Doug Weight. "The top three players now are him, Mike Modano and probably [Jaromir] Jagr, I think."
* RELATED: Player bio: Rick Nash
Nash leads the tournament with six goals and is tied with linemate Joe Thornton, who also scored for Canada against the U.S., as the leading scorer with eight points. Nash has scored in all three of Canada's games.
"We've got some chemistry and right now, we're just clicking," said Nash, who played with Thornton this season with Davos of the Swiss Elite League. "Me and Joe had it a bit before, but for Simon [Gagne] to jump in and play so well with us is great."
* FROM MAY 5, 2005: Hnilicka backstops Czechs to victory
Canada (3-0) finishes first in Pool B ahead of the U.S. (2-1).
Canada and the U.S. move on to the qualifying round and will each play Sweden (3-0), Finland (2-1) and Ukraine (1-2). The quarter-finals begin on May 12.
Canada, the defending two-time world champion, will play Sweden on Saturday. The Americans will play Finland on Friday.
Goalie Martin Brodeur was back between the pipes after a game off for Canada and made 34 saves in the victory.
After two easy wins against Latvia and Slovenia, Canada faced its first stiff test of the tournament against the U.S.
The opening period was an ugly spectacle, filled with penalties and defensive errors by both teams. After a scoreless first period, Canada broke the deadlock 51 seconds into the middle frame.
Nash was stopped on a wraparound but he stayed with the play and collected the rebound before beating American goalie Rick DiPietro between the pads with a wrist shot.
The U.S. equalized just over four minutes later. Canadian defenceman Ed Jovanovski coughed up the puck at his blue-line, allowing Mike Knuble to break out on a two-on-one and wire a wicked shot past Brodeur.
Nash scored his second at 11:29 of the period on a nice counterattacking play. Canadian defenceman Dan Boyle fed a long pass to Nash, who fended off the U.S.'s Jordan Leopold on a breakaway and beat DiPietro with a beautiful top-shelf shot.
"Nash showed some great second effort on the first goal and the second was absolutely world class," said veteran centre Kris Draper.
"It shows what this kid has and he's just going to keep getting better for us in this tournament."
Thornton scored his fourth goal of the tournament at 12.22 of the final period and Brodeur made a handful of great saves in the final minutes to preserve the win, Canada's 34th in 37 meetings with the U.S. at the world championship.
In Vienna, Switzerland skated to a 5-1 win over Germany. The Swiss (2-1) finished second in Pool D and move on to the qualifying round with the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan (1-2). Germany (0-3) finished bottom of the group.
Hnilicka backstops Czechs to victory
Earlier on Thursday, goaltender Milan Hnilicka stopped all 16 shots he faced to guide the Czech Republic to a 1-0 win over Kazakhstan in Vienna.
Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky scored the game-winning goal at 10:44 of the second period to help the Czechs (3-0) secure top spot in Pool D.
Latvia advances to qualifying round
Also on Thursday, Girts Ankipans had a goal and an assist in Latvia's 3-1 win over Slovenia in a Pool B contest in Innsbruck.
Martins Cipulis and Atvars Tribuncovs also scored for Latvia (1-2), which advances to the qualifying round. Jurij Golcic tallied for Slovenia (0-3).
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