- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MINSK, Belarus (AP) - Joel Ward scored two power-play goals and had an assist to lift Canada to a 3-2 victory over Norway to clinch first place in its group at the ice hockey world championship on Tuesday.

Ward tied it at 1-1 in the second period before helping to set up Mark Scheifele’s score to make it 2-2. Ward scored the winner - his sixth of the tournament - in the third with 9:17 left. Anders Bastiansen and Mads Hansen scored for Norway.

“We felt good about ourselves,” Ward said. “We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. We just got to capitalize on special teams.”

Canada won Group A ahead of Sweden, and will play Finland, the fourth-place team from Group B in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, United States captain Justin Abdelkader returned from a one-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit and scored twice in a 5-4 win over Germany in its final group stage game.

“I felt pretty good as the game went on, pretty fresh. I just wanted to hopefully spark my team tonight and it was a big win for us.”

The United States finished second in Group B, two points ahead of Belarus. The U.S. will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. All four quarterfinals games are scheduled for Thursday.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted come on, took too many penalties,” Abdelkader said after seven U.S. players were sent to the penalty box during the game.

“Hopefully, we can learn from that.”

Johnny Gaudreau scored a power play goal and added three assists, Drew Shore had a sort-handed goal and Matt Donovan also scored for the U.S. on a power play.

“It was a fun game,” Gaudreau said. “Thanks to my linemates, Abdelkader and Stapleton, two older guys who just help me get better every single day.”

Latvia lost 3-2 to Switzerland in a result that sent both teams home.

Defending champion Sweden meets Belarus in the quarterfinals and France is set to play Group B winner Russia.

In the final group stage matches, Russia finished 7-0 in the group stage with a 2-1 victory over host Belarus and the Czech Republic needed an overtime goal to edge France 5-4.

Seregi Plotnikov and Vadim Schipachyov a goal and an assist each for Russia for a 2-0 lead before Vladimir Denisov cut the lead in half in the third.

Star forward Evgeni Malkin joined Russia for the first time after his Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the NHL playoffs, while another star Alex Ovechkin missed the game due to a right knee injury.

“It was hard today to be honest,” Malkin said. “I’ve got good partners and we created chances but it’s a pity that I couldn’t score. The puck just wouldn’t go in for me.”

Germany and Norway didn’t make the knockout round.

Defenseman Jan Kolar scored 2:19 in overtime and Vladimir Sobotka had a goal and two assists as the Czechs had to rally from a 3-0 deficit.

Also, Slovakia beat Denmark 4-3 on Tuesday.

Italy and Kazakhstan, the bottom teams are relegated from the top division and will be replaced with Austria and Slovenia at next year’s worlds at the Czech Republic.

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