SOCHI, Russia -- The pursuit of Olympic gold will continue for three former University of North Dakota All-Americans.
Zach Parise, T.J. Oshie and the United States defeated Slovenia 5-1 today to earn a bye into the quarterfinal round, while Jonathan Toews and Canada did the same with a 2-1 overtime victory over Finland.
The U.S. will face the winner of Tuesday's Slovakia-Czech Republic game, while Canada awaits the winner of the Latvia-Switzerland matchup, also on Tuesday. The quaterfinals will take place on Wednesday.
Parise, who captains the U.S. squad, once again trailed only Ryan Kesler in ice time among American forwards. He registered one shot on goal. Oshie, the hero of Saturday's shootout win over Russia, assisted on a Ryan McDonagh second-periodl goal that gave the U.S. a 4-1 lead.
The U.S. finished the preliminary round with a perfect 3-0 record.
"There's areas from the first round to today's game that we were better in," said Parise. "I still think there's room for improvement but obviously the first three games I don't think you can argue with the results."
In Canada's win over Finland, Toews once again led all Canadian forwards in ice time (18:24) while tying for a game-high with eight faceoff wins. His line with Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau was called Canada's most effective line by Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail.
“We had a lot of chances, a couple just bounced the wrong way,” said Toews. “For the most part, we had the puck, and created a lot. It’s gonna come. Nice to find a way to win as a team."
Should the U.S. and Canada both win their quarterfinal games, they would face each other in the semifinals with a berth in the gold medal game on the line.