Norway unable to catch Canada at Worlds

James Neal and Jason Spezza of Canada celebrate a goal against Norway during their qualification...

James Neal and Jason Spezza of Canada celebrate a goal against Norway during their qualification round Group F game at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Kosice, Slovakia on May 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Petr Josek)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:49 PM ET

It turned out to be tougher than anticipated, but Canada continued its winning ways at the IIHF World Championship on Saturday.

Jason Spezza, John Tavares and James Neal scored for Canada in a 3-2 win over Norway in Kosice, Slovakia. Ken Andre Olimb and Marius Holtet responded for Norway, who battled back from a 3-0 deficit to make things interesting in the third period.

The win was Canada’s fifth straight at the tournament and clinched them a berth into the quarter-finals that commence Wednesday in Bratislava.

They’ll conclude the qualification round on Monday against Sweden, in what is expected to be a battle for first place and their toughest test of the tournament so far.

Spezza opened the scoring against Norway in the first period, firing a shot past goaltender Lars Haugen from the doorstep after Rick Nash had poked the puck over to him following a scramble in front.

Tavares increased Canada’s lead in the second on a great individual effort, blowing between Norwegian defencemen Morten Ask and Alexander Bonsaksen and beating Haugen between the pads.

Neal put Canada up by three in the third period, taking the puck from Nash and firing a shot over the shoulder of Haugen.

Olimb got the Norwegians on the board in the third period, snapping a shot past goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who was making his first appearance for Canada.

Bernier joined the team following the Los Angeles Kings first round exit of the NHL playoffs.

Holtet added a second just over a minute later to make for an interesting finish, beating Bernier with an innocent-looking wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle.

Despite getting a late power play after Spezza was assessed a cross-checking minor, Norway could not find a tying goal.

Bernier finished with 25 saves on the night, while Haugen turned away 40 of the 43 shots he faced.

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie James Reimer had started the previous four games in goal for Canada.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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