United States captain Paul Stastny had two goals and two assists, and teammate Craig Smith had five assists in an 8-3 rout of Russia on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
U.S. goalie John Gibson made 31 saves, and Ryan Carter had a goal and an assist in a game played at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. The Americans advanced to a semifinal match Saturday against Switzerland, which beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in another quarterfinal game.
Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for Russia, which sustained its worst loss ever in the World Championship.
"I thought we played a pretty solid team game today," U.S. forward Stephen Gionta told the IIHF website. "We tried to clog up everything, take away their speed, and keep the puck in their end. I think our game plan worked."
The United States led 4-1 after two periods, but Russia appeared to seize momentum when Ovechkin, in his first game of the tournament, stepped around Gionta and fired a shot that went in and out of the net so fast a replay review was needed to show it beat Gibson to the short side 1:33 into the third.
Thirty-one seconds later, Russia got a power play when Gionta was called for roughing. But Alexander Radulov turned over the puck at the U.S. blue line, letting Carter and Nate Thompson break out on a 2-on-1 rush. Carter kept the puck and beat Semyon Varlamov to give the U.S. a 5-2 lead.
Alexander Perezhogin later scored on the Russian power play to make it 5-3, but that was as close as Russia would get. Jacob Trouba's point shot on a U.S. power play made it 6-3, and David Moss added a goal 1:45 later. Stastny's second goal of the game closed the scoring.
"It's where we wanted to be coming into this tournament," Gionta said. "We took care of what we had to today, and we got some bounces our way, which is always nice."
The bounces started early as Stastny and T.J. Oshie scored 50 seconds apart in the first period.
Smith spun and fired a backhander out of the corner in front that Stastny knocked past Russia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 11:53 of the first, then Oshie took a Tim Stapleton pass and beat Bryzgalov with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle and at 12:43.
Alexander Svitov scored for Russia to make it a one-goal game after one period, but Thompson one-timed a Carter pass past Bryzgalov 5:45 into the second, and Alex Galchenyuk made it 4-1 when he took a Smith pass, deked Bryzgalov and scored with 2:29 left.
Moments later, Bryzgalov was replaced by Varlamov after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Varlamov made seven saves on 11 shots.
"The team that was more disciplined and better organized won today," Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov told the IIHF website. "We have very good players, but you have to remember that hockey is a team game."
Sweden 3, Canada 2 (SO): Fredrik Petterson's goal in the fourth round of the shootout was the difference as Sweden defeated Canada to advance the semifinals in a game played at Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
"I can't believe we lost," Canadian forward Matt Duchene said, according to The Associated Press. "I thought we had the team to do it this year. It just shows you one game, anyone can win. We don't like that penalty shot rule, that's for sure."
Jordan Eberle tied the shootout when he scored to open the second round, then Smith stopped Henrik Sedin. After Duchene and Daniel Sedin were denied in the third round, Petterson beat Smith in the fourth round. When Eberle's second attempt went over the net, it was Sweden advancing to the next round.
"It's the worst feeling obviously," Smith said. "Every time we put the Canada sweater on you are expected to win. This is tough to take."
Canada lost captain Eric Staal at 15:52 of the first period to a knee injury when he was hit by Sweden's Alexander Edler. The defenseman was assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a game-misconduct. Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News & Observer that Staal will return to North Carolina for an MRI exam to determine the severity of the injury.
Canada nearly added a goal to their total in the final seconds of the second period when Stamkos tucked the puck past Enroth, but after a replay review, it was ruled the puck crossed the goal line after time had expired.
Sweden took the lead on a pair of power-play goals by Nicklas Danielsson 3:54 apart in the third period. With Dan Hamhuis off for delay of the game, Danielsson's point shot went through traffic and past Smith at 5:41, and after Giroux was sent off for cross-checking, Danielsson scored to put Sweden ahead at 9:35.
Giroux atoned, however, with 9:10 left when he snapped a shot past Enroth off a nice set-up by Andrew Ladd.
Neither team managed a shot in overtime, leading to the shootout.
Smith finished with 30 saves on 33 shots; Enroth made 39 saves.
Switzerland 2, Czech Republic 1: Roman Josi's power-play goal at 13:08 of the second held up as the winner in a game played at Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
Denis Hollenstein also had a goal for Switzerland and Martin Gerber stopped 33 of 34 shots. After finishing 11th last year, Switzerland has won all eight of its games to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1998.
"It's nice to be back in the [semifinals]," Switzerland coach Sean Simpson told the IIHF website. "This time we had a different game for the result and the team really showed that it wanted to go further in the tournament. Switzerland has often been stuck in the quarterfinals and couldn't make the hump to the semifinals. I'm proud that this team has done it."
Ondrej Pavelec made 30 saves for the Czech Republic.
Hollenstein scored from in front of the Czech net off a pass from Severin Blindenbacher 5:45 into the game, and Josi made it 2-0 when he scored in the second.
The Czechs made it a one-goal game when Zdenek Cutlak scored a power-play goal at 5:29 of the third, but the Swiss held strong, killing off a pair of Czech Republic power plays.
"Under big pressure our team stood together … and we also had big goaltending," Simpson said. "The team did something very special for the country today."
Finland 4, Slovakia 3: Petri Kontiola scored a pair of goals in the first period and assisted on Juhamatti Aaltonen's game-winning goal in the third as Finland advanced to the semifinals despite blowing a 3-0 lead in a game played at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
"We were ecstatic and then we were down on ourselves and then happy again," Aaltonen told the IIHF website. "But I guess the emotional roller coaster doesn't matter when we took a win."
Finland will face Sweden in the semifinals Saturday. Sweden beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout in another quarterfinal game.
Ossi Vaananen also had a goal in the first as Finland led 3-0 after 20 minutes, but Slovakia battled back, getting goals from Michel Miklik and Andrej Sekera in the second period, then Tomas Surovy scored 30 seconds into the third period to tie the game.
Finland retook the lead at 8:13 of the third when Kontiola threw a pass in front of the Slovakia net that Aaltonen was able to lift over a lunging Rostislav Stana in the Slovakia net for the winner.
"The boys made a nice play, and that was a chance you have to bury," Aaltonen said.
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