Caps Ward impressing on international stage

Caps Ward impressing on international stage
May 20, 2014, 2:30 pm
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(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Capitals forward Joel Ward had two goals and an assist as Canada clinched first place in Group A at the IIHF World Hockey Championships with a 3-2 win against Norway.

Canada closed out the seven-game preliminary round with six straight wins and will now face Belarus, Finland or Latvia in the quarterfinals on Thursday. With Canada having clinched Group A and Russia finishing atop Group B, the two tournament favorites remain on a collision course to meet in Sunday’s gold medal final.

While Russia remains without injured Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, Ward continues to impress for Team Canada. Ward remains Canada’s leading scorer with six goals and nine points in seven games and leads all Canadian forwards with a plus-6 rating. Ward was also selected as Canada’s ‘Player of the Game’ in wins against the Czech Republic and Norway.

Jason Chimera finished the preliminary round with a goal and two assists for Canada, while Troy Brouwer had one assist in seven games.

 FORMER CAPS PROSPECT SHINES FOR NORWAY: Canada outshot Norway 42-16 in their preliminary round finale, but Norwegian goalie Steffen Soberg made 39 saves to keep the game close.

The Capitals selected Soberg in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft but the goaltending prospect has spent the last three years playing professionally in Europe. Soberg went 0-3 in this year’s World Championships, but posted an impressive 2.05 goals-against-average and .948 save percentage.

GRUBAUER IMPRESSES WITH GERMANY: Even though Germany did not qualify for the quarterfinals of this year’s tournament, it was a worthwhile experience for Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer.

Grubauer went 1-1 in two starts for Germany with a 2.03 GAA and .922 SV% and turned aside 28 of the 30 shots he faced in a 3-0 loss to Russia (an empty net goal gave Russia a three goal advantage).

“I’ve been able to understand better how plays unfold [at the international level] and being better able to read them,” Grubauer told the IIHF official website. “It’s a bit different here because the ice is wider and you have a little bit more time to read the play better. That helps a bit.”