It was a busy day for Blackhawks representatives in the quarterfinals of the 2016 IIHF World Championship, as the eight remaining teams vied for a spot in the medal round on Saturday. In St. Petersburg, a young Team USA squad took on the Czech Republic, Team A winners, and emerged with a 2-1 shootout win after neither team was able to convert on any of six power-play opportunities. Later, Canada thoroughly defeated Sweden 6-0 to set up another border battle in the semifinals, as Rockford IceHogs forwards Vinny Hinostroza and Tyler Motte will help the U.S. try to avenge a 5-1 opening night loss.
In Moscow, Finland cruised to a 5-1 win over Denmark, while the Russians fell behind to an early goal by Germany, but eventually won 4-1 to set up the other semifinal tilt. Rockford defenseman Ville Pokka and the tournament-leading Finnish defense will be tasked with keeping the dynamic Russian offense—led in part by Artemi Panarin—off the scoresheet. They will open the action on Saturday at 8:15 a.m. CT, to be followed by USA-Canada at 12:45 p.m. CT (streaming available for on NBC Sports Live Extra).
Blackhawks contributions in the quarterfinals:
Artemi Panarin (RUS): Panarin was held off the scoresheet in 16:14 of ice time, although his linemates accounted for three of Russia’s four tallies against Denmark.
Vincent Hinostroza (USA): Hinostroza was promoted to the second line, skating alongside Brock Nelson and Frank Vatrano, and logged one shot on goal in 12:32 of ice time.
Tyler Motte (USA): Despite playing his usual shutdown and penalty-killing role, Motte showed offensive flashes as he contributed four shots on goal in 15:10 of ice time, including one in overtime.
Ville Pokka (FIN): Pokka took three shots on goal and finished with a +2 plus/minus rating while logging 15:40 against Denmark.
Erik Gustafsson (SWE): Gustafsson played very limited time on Thursday, logging 5:41 of ice time, mostly in the third period. He ended the tournament with two assists and 16 shots on goal in eight games, sharing second among team defensemen; he averaged 16:18 per game.