World Juniors: Canada holds on to beat Team USA, win group

Connor McDavid and Curtis Lazar scored in a 2:19 span in the third period and Canada beat the United States 3-2 on Tuesday to win Group A in the world junior hockey tournament.

Nic Petan also scored for Canada (3-0-1), and Zach Fucale made 24 saves. Canada will face Switzerland – fourth in Group B – in the quarterfinals Thursday.

”We now have 48 hours to prepare for our next opponent,” Canadian coach Brent Sutter said. ”Our focus over the next two days needs to be on this game and only on this game.”

Miami of Ohio’s Riley Barber and New Jersey Devils farmhand Stefan Matteau scored for the defending champion United States (3-1-0). The Americans, 0 for 3 on the power play after going 11 of 19 in their first three games, will play Russia in the quarterfinals.

”It was the first time we’ve been minus on special teams in four games and that was the difference,” said American coach Don Lucia of the University of Minnesota.

McDavid beat Providence College goalie Jon Gilles at 3:54 of the third and Lazar made it 3-1 on a power play at 6:13. Matteau scored with 2:15 left.

”We took some bad penalties, and before you know it, the puck is in the back of the net,” Barber said. ”But the real tournament starts now. It sucks to lose, but we’re not that worried about it.”

Sweden won Group B at 4-0-0, beating Russia 3-2 on Jacob de la Rose’s goal with 2:22 to play. De la Rose tipped Gustav Olofsson’s shot past goalie Andrei Vasilevski.

”It feels really amazing right now,” de la Rose said. ”It was a great goal for us and we really needed it.”

Andreas Johnson and Nick Sorensen also scored for Sweden, and Oscar Dansk made 23 saves. Sweden will face Slovakia in the quarterfinals.

Alexander Barabanov and Mikhail Grigorenko scored for Russia (2-2-0).

In the other Group A game, the Czech Republic beat Slovakia 4-1.

David Patrnak, Ondrej Kase, Petr Sidlik and Martin Prochazka scored for the Czech Republic (1-2-1), and Marek Langhamer made 31 saves. Milan Kolena scored for Slovakia (1-3-0).

The Czech Republic will play Finland (2-1-1) in the quarterfinals.

In the Group B finale, Switzerland beat Finland 4-3 in a shootout. Claude Paschoud had the lone goal in the tiebreaker. Switzerland was 2-2-0.