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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 4:16 PM

Nathan MacKinnon and Reto Berra both helped their teams to 3-2 wins Tuesday on the final day of preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

But only one is moving on to the tournament quarterfinals.

MacKinnon, the Avalanche forward and youngest member of Team Canada, had a game-high seven shots, and Joel Ward (Capitals) scored twice on the power play and had an assist in Canada’s victory against Norway at Chizhovka Arena.

   Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

The Canadians (6-1, 18 points) outshot the Norwegians 42-16 and won Group A in the eight-team, two-pool format. They will play Finland, Group B’s fourth-place team, on Thursday, with the semifinals coming Saturday, where a match against either the United States or France would await.

The World Championship gold-medal game is scheduled for Sunday.

"It was a long game but we weren't down and out or anything," Ward said to the IIHF website Tuesday. "We felt good about ourselves. We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. [We’ve] just got to capitalize on special teams."

Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos was on the ice for 34:08 for Norway (2-5, seven),
which led 1-0 at the end of the first period and later went ahead 2-1 with just less than eight minutes to play in the second.

Mark Scheifele (Jets) tied the game 2-2 four minutes later for Canada, with help from Ward, who then put the Canadians ahead for good with nine minutes to play in regulation.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 6:11 PM

Cody Hodgson (Sabres) had a hat trick Thursday at Chizhovka Arena, helping Canada and the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon to a 6-1 win against Denmark in a Group A preliminary-round game at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus.

Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

Flyers forward Matt Read scored twice for the Canadians (3-0-1, 10 points), and Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau also found the net.

Canada goaltender Ben Scrivens (Oilers) made 29 saves and improved to 2-0-0 in the fifth all-time Worlds matchup between Denmark and Canada.

MacKinnon, who had a goal and an assist in Canada’s three previous Worlds games, totaled 11:29 of ice time across 17 shifts but fired off just one first-period shot against the Danes (1-3-0, three).

Avs defenseman prospect Markus Lauridsen was on the ice for 5:32 for Denmark and was called for a high stick at 14:31 of the second period.

"As a team we had a strategy of wearing [the Danes] down and keeping pucks in their end,” Hodgson told the IIHF website, “and, eventually, that showed in the third period as we had so much possession time.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:36 PM

Avalanche goalie Reto Berra made 22 saves Wednesday to help his Switzerland team snap a three-game losing streak at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus with a 3-2 win against Germany at Minsk Arena.

Berra

Berra started in goal for the Swiss for the third time in the Championship and improved to 2-1 with a scoreless final 21:08 after Thomas Oppenheimer pulled Germany within a goal late in the second period with one of his two scores in the game.

A close-range, near-tying shot from Germany’s Alexander Barta rang off the crossbar in the final minute of regulation, and Switzerland avoided a four-game winless start in the group-play, round-robin format.

"We had a great chance for a fourth goal, then they came straight back down the ice and hit the bar," Switzerland’s Roman Josi (Predators) told the IIHF website after notching two assists in a game-high 25:16 on the ice.

“Everything went so fast. I saw [Barta] in front of the goal and thought, 'Please don't score.' Luckily he put it on the crossbar."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 1:01 AM

Nathan MacKinnon added another notch to his burgeoning resume Monday in Canada’s 4-3 win against the Czech Republic at Chizhovka Arena at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

MacKinnon

MacKinnon, the Avalanche rookie who led all NHL rookies this season in points (63), goals (24-tied) and assists (39), potted one of the Canada’s two second-period power-play scores to become the second youngest in Canada history to score a goal at the Worlds since 1977.

He slapped in a rebound off a shot from the Capitals’ Joel Ward at 16:07 of the second period to put the Canadians ahead 3-1 and surpass Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby as the youngest in the nation’s history at the annual tournament.

Former NHL star Paul Kariya, who played for the Avs during the 2003-04 season, is the youngest to score for Canada (1993) since it began sending NHL pros to the tournament in 1977 (Vienna, Austria).

Morgan Rielly (Maple Leafs) added another score after MacKinnon’s to put Canada up 4-1 before the Czechs rallied on an even-strength goal and a power-play goal in the third period.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 11:14 PM

Nathan MacKinnon and Reto Berra are spending the early part of their offseasons just west of Russia, on a couple of international-sized ice sheets in Minsk, Belarus.

PMacKinnon, the Avs’ 18-year-old Canadian forward, who burst onto the hockey scene this season, and Berra, a Swiss-born goaltender acquired on this year’s trade-deadline day, will represent their respective countries at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

The 17-day, 16-team tournament begins Friday morning (MT) and runs through Sunday, May 25, with the playoffs beginning May 22.

Preliminary play is scheduled until May 20, with the top four teams from each eight-team group advancing to a crossover quarterfinal setup. Semifinal games will be played May 24, and medals will be decided the next day.

MacKinnon and Berra are both set to start the tournament Friday, as Team Canada is set to face France at 7:45 a.m. (MT) at Chizhovka Arena (9,600) while the Swiss take on Russia at the same time across town at Minsk Arena (15,000).

Both players made themselves eligible for the tournament after the Avalanche’s season ended last week in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 8:00 PM

Sweden and the United States advanced with relative ease to Friday’s Olympic men’s ice hockey semifinals, while Canada and Finland moved on, too.

Those four teams were the top squads to emerge from preliminary play, and the seeds held up Wednesday, with the top-seeded Swedes knocking off Slovakia 5-0, the second-seeded Americans cruising past Czech Republic 5-2, third-seed Canada holding off Latvia 2-1 and No. 4-seed Finland eliminating host Russia 3-1.

Three of the four Avalanche players representing their countries in Sochi are moving on.

Matt Duchene (Canada), Paul Stastny (USA) and Gabriel Landeskog (Sweden) are all still alive in the medal chase, and either Duchene or Stastny is guaranteed a chance Sunday to play for the gold.

Landeskog and Team Sweden have yet to go past regulation in any of their four wins and look like a strong bet to advance to the title game.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 5:30 PM

Canada center John Tavares on Wednesday suffered a leg injury in the second period against Latvia and will miss the rest of the 2014 Olympics.

Duchene

That could mean more of an opportunity for Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has been a healthy scratch for Canada in two of it four games in Sochi, including in Wednesday's 2-1 win.

Tavares was knocked from the game after taking a big hit from Latvia's Arturs Kulda, and he didn't return to the game after retreating to Canada's dressing room.

Duchene, making his Olympics debut, is plus-one so far in two games for Canada, with four shots on goal in 13:50 of ice time per game. He was a scratch in Canada's first preliminary round game against Norway before playing in its final two prelims against Austria and Finland.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 3:30 PM

Saturday’s anticipated USA-Russia matchup lived up to the pregame billing and was about as dramatic of a victory as there can be at this stage of the Olympics.

Tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. A little controversy. Still tied after the shootout. Still tied after each team took its three penalty shots.

And then … T.J. Oshie (Blues).

It was the type of game and subsequent memory that is the reason we love sports. There was plenty of drama and lots of emotion, lots of internal (adrenaline) and external (caffeine) nervousness and a final scene that brought the house down.

And in today’s technology-savvy world most enjoyed it with thousands and thousands of their closest “friends.”

I hopped on Twitter early in the first period and was amazed by the interaction. I wasn’t surprised there was excitement up and down my timeline but that it was happening en masse at a time when most of the country might have still been sleeping had it happened on any other Saturday.

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POSTED ON Friday, 02.14.2014 / 5:33 PM
Gabriel Landeskog
Matt Duchene

Gabriel Landeskog and Team Sweden clinched the Group C pool-play victory Friday morning with a 1-0 win against Switzerland, and Matt Duchene made his Olympic debut with Team Canada in a 6-0 rout of Austria.

The Avs are still perfect for Sochi, but that won’t be the case after tomorrow.

Two days remain in Preliminary Round play for the Avalanche players, but Paul Stastny and Team USA are set to play Russia and Colorado teammate Semyon Varlamov on Saturday in an anticipated early-tournament game (5:30 a.m. MT; CBC, NBCSN).

It’s the only game in the preliminaries that features Avs playing Avs.

Landeskog and Sweden will finish Group C play at 10 a.m. Saturday against Latvia (USA, SNET1), while the Russians, Americans and Canadians will wrap up Sunday—Russia takes on Slovakia (5:30 a.m.; USA, SNET), the USA has Slovenia (5:30 a.m., NBCSN), and Canada faces Finland (10 a.m.; CBC, USA).

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 4:13 PM

The Avs are 1-0 so far in Russia.

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado’s captain and Sweden’s alternate captain, assisted on a Henrik Zetterberg (Red Wings) goal 51 seconds into the second period Wednesday, and Sweden started its 2014 Olympics with a 4-2 win against Czech Republic at Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome.

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The Swedes took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and quickly led 4-0 in the second period, following Zetterberg’s score and another from Erik Karlsson (Predators) at 4:07.

The Czechs pushed back and made the score 4-2 on second-period scores from Marek Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr (Devils), but that was it for the game’s scoring.

Landeskog finished with one shot on goal and a plus-two rating in 15:16 of ice time. He also served a late first-period penalty for interference.

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