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Kinkaid backstops U.S. to upset win over Czechs

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

A low-scoring quarterfinal between the U.S. and the Czech Republic put the spotlight squarely on the goaltenders, and Keith Kinkaid owned the stage.

Kinkaid made 31 saves then stopped all three shootout attempts he faced to lift Team USA to a 2-1 upset victory over the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championship on Thursday. Auston Matthews scored the tying goal 1:27 into the second period, then notched the deciding tally in the second round of the shootout.

“Our guys worked hard and I’m proud of the effort,” coach John Hynes told USA Hockey's official site. “We got better as the game wore on and it’s certainly exciting to be heading to the semifinals of the tournament.”

The Czechs, the top seed in Group A, got only one puck past Kinkaid all game: Tomas Zohorna’s successful shorthanded penalty shot in the first period. Team USA was outshot, 32-28, but Kinkaid turned away all 24 shots he saw after the opening frame and was named U.S. Player of the Game.

Bronze medalists in two of the last three worlds, the U.S. (3-1-1-3, W-OTW-OTL-L) advances to a Saturday semifinal meeting with Canada, which routed Sweden, 6-0, on Thursday.

Sergey Kalinin and Russia are through to the semis after their 4-1 win over Germany. Kalinin recorded one shot in 11:12 of ice time for the Russians, who have medaled in 8 of the last 11 world championships.

Russia draws a semifinal matchup with Finland, which topped Denmark, 5-1.

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