By Steve Keating
SOCHI, Russia Feb 16 (Reuters) - Drew Doughty scored the overtime winner as Canada edged Finland 2-1 to close the preliminary round of the Olympic men's ice hockey competition on Sunday and keep its gold medal defense on course.
By taking top spot in Group B ahead of the Finns, unbeaten Canada will have a more direct route to the gold medal final than it did four years ago on home ice in Vancouver when it was forced to play an elimination game.
Doughty, a defenseman, continued to be an offensive force for Canada scoring once in regulation and again midway into the five minute extra-session to give him a team-high four goals in three games.
With the three group winners plus the best second place finisher receiving direct passage to the quarter-finals, Finland also avoids playing in an elimination game with the top runner-up record of two wins and an overtime loss. (Editing by Gene Cherry)