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North America's Run Ends With Russia's Win

Russia and Sweden move on to the World Cup semifinals from Group B

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

RUSSIA (3) VS. FINLAND (0)

Team North America's exciting run in the World Cup of Hockey has come to an end.

Russia secured Group B's final spot into the semifinals on Thursday afternoon with a 3-0 win over Finland at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, eliminating the pan-North American team.

Team Russia moves on after winning the head-to-head tiebreaker against the 23-and-under squad. The Russians defeated North America 4-3 on Monday in an exciting, back-and-forth game that featured plenty of speed and scoring chances.

Team North America featured players 23 years old and younger from Canada and the United States and became a fan favorite with its underdog mentality. Nathan MacKinnon was on the club and finished with two goals, including the overtime winner on Wednesday against Sweden.

In Thursday's matchup against the Finns, Russia held a narrow 22-21 shot advantage but really made its mark in the second period where it tallied twice on its first three shots.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Telegin notched markers in the first 5:01 of the middle frame to give Russia a two-goal lead. Evgeni Malkin closed the scoring 3:31 into the final period.

Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov was the backup for Russia.

Russia will now face Canada, the winner of Group A, in a one-game semifinal matchup on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT.

In the other semifinal matchup, Team Sweden, which rosters Avs forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg, plays Team Europe on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.

CZECH REPBULIC (4) VS. UNITED STATES (3)

The Czech Republic scored three second period goals and defeated the United States 4-3 on Thursday night in the final game of the preliminary round for the World Cup of Hockey.

Neither team will advance to the semifinals after being eliminated in their previous outings. The Americans and Finns finish the tournament as the only squads without a victory.

USA goalie Ben Bishop made 16 saves on 20 shots before being replaced at the start of the third period by Cory Schneider, who stopped all seven pucks he faced. The United States outshot the Czechs 39-27.

The clubs were tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after Justin Abdelkader tallied for the Americans at 14:13 of the middle stanza. However, Andrej Sustr and Milan Michalek recorded goals in a matter of 39 seconds soon after and the Czech Republic closed the period up by two.

Ryan McDonagh registered his second tally of the tournament at 2:22 of the third, but the United States couldn't close the gap any further.

Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson did not dress for the U.S.

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