Vikingstad Scores Winner vs Canada
St.Louis Blues prospect Tore Vikingstad of Norway scored the game winner midway through the third period on a pass from Trond Magnussen for Norway`s first major victory over Canada in the World Championships 4-3. Goalie Vidar Wold played superb hockey in shutting down the Canadians.
With it’s only remaining game against Japan, it is possible that Norway could capture first place in Group C thus changing face from past World Championships where they were playing to stay in Group A and in recent years in Group B.
Canada opened the first period with four minutes of solid forechecking, forcing the action in the Norwegian zone. Canada almost scored one minute in but was stopped by goalie Vidar Wold.
The game was extremely physical and usually this type of play frustrates the smaller Norwegian side. This time they survived as Canada piled up the penalty minutes. This proved costly in the end result.
Canada’s head coach, Tom Renney, said: “Our lack of discipline got the best of us tonight. We are the youngest team in the tournament and we played like it.”
When the referee wasn’t blowing the whistle, the players on both sides provided scoring chances throughout the match. Norway who scored first at 2:06 of the second, with Sjur Nilsen and Canada’s Ed Jovanovski chasing the puck towards the Canadian goal. Jovanovski bumped Nilsen in front of the net, with a one handed flick he was able to tap the puck past Freddie Braithwaite.
Patrick Traverse blasted a slap shot into the top-right corner off a feed from Brad Isbister. Norway kept up the pressure, however, and regained the lead just 17 seconds later when Trond Magnussen skated into the slot and flipped a weak wrist shot on goal, which handcuffed Braithwaite and ended up in the net.
Canada, tied the game at the 17:12 during a delayed penalty. Todd Bertuzzi buried a wrist shot from the side of the net.
Canada gained the flow and scored again on a goal by Steve Sullivan.
But the Canadians collapsed going into the second, on a goal by Marius Trygg with 43 ticks to go. Goalie Fred Brathwaite was not strong and the end result brings about the possibility that Canada may not advance in the 2000 tourney.
Again one must look at the system of recruitment for the US and Canadian teams…with many of the top NHL N.American stars home for the playoffs playing golf instead of for their country.
Norway meanwhile is without three of their top stars, Espen Knutsen the recent MVP of the Swedish League Finals and a former Whalers draft pick and Mighty Ducks player (18 games), Anders Myrvold (Quebec/Colorado/Boston/Providence) and Bård Sorlie (Canadian Juniors and VIF-Norway) were all missing. Sorlie suffered a serious injury late in the season and cancelled his chances while Knutsen and Myrvold refused to play.
This win gives Norway some spotlight in the local papers and may just turn one more kid into a player. Tore Vikingstad meanwhile will probably attend Blues camp in the fall for evaluation, but this all depends perhaps on his showing at these Worlds… sofar… so good!
Some info courtesy of St.Pete Times…