Finland's Niko Ojamaki, right, challenges for the puck with Canada's Jacob Bernard-Docker, centre, and Canada's goaltender Darcy Kuemper during the Ice Hockey World Championship group B match between Canada and Finland at the Arena in Riga, Latvia, Tuesday, June 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Sergei Grits

Canada advances to quarterfinal meeting with Russia at world hockey championship

RIGA, Latvia — Canada has advanced to the quarterfinals at the world hockey championship, an outcome that looked highly unlikely after a dreadful 0-3 start.

The Canadians needed to wait until Tuesday’s late games ended to find out of they made it out of the preliminary round, but they got the help they needed when Germany defeated Latvia 2-1 in regulation. That result locked Canada into fourth place in Group B with 10 points.

Earlier Tuesday, Canada fell 3-2 in a shootout to 2019 champion Finland in its final preliminary round game. Canada missed an opportunity to clinch a quarterfinal berth with a win, but the point from the overtime loss kept Canada’s hopes alive.

The United States finished first in Group B with 18 points, followed by Finland (17) and Germany (12).

Kazakhstan also had 10 points, but Canada owned the head-to-head tiebreaker between the teams. Latvia finished sixth with nine points.

Canada will face Russia, which won Group A with 17 points, in the quarterfinals. Switzerland (15 points), the Czech Republic (13) and Slovakia (12) also advanced out of Group A. Perennial powerhouse Sweden was left out after finishing fifth with 10 points.

The quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday.

Canada was in danger of missing the playoffs at a world championship or Olympics for the first time after starting the tournament 0-3 with losses to Latvia, the United States and Germany.

But Canada found its groove in a 4-2 over Norway, with Calgary Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane joining the team to form an effective top line with captain Adam Henrique and Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown.

Canada followed with a crucial 4-2 win over Kazakhstan and a 7-1 romp over winless Italy to give it a chance to move on heading into Tuesday’s showdown with Finland.

In Tuesday’s game, Maxime Comtois and Brandon Pirri scored for Canada whille Arttu Ruotsalainen scored two goals for Finland, including the tying goal with four minutes left.

Ruotsalainen was one of three players to beat Canadian goalie Darcy Kuemper in the shootout. Canada put two shots past Finnish netminder Jussi Olkinuora.

Brown tied for the scoring lead in the preliminary round with 10 points (two goals eight assists) in seven games. Henrique was tied for third with nine points (four goals, five assists) while Mangiapane had four goals and four assists in just four games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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