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USA routs Russia in quarters, Swiss down Czech

by Staff Writer / Winnipeg Jets



7 6 1 1 0 20
7 5 1 1 0 18
SWEDEN 7 5 0 0 2 17
CZECH REP. 7 3 1 0 3 11
NORWAY 7 3 0 0 4 9
DENMARK 7 1 1 1 4 6
BELARUS 7 1 0 0 6 3
SLOVENIA 7 0 0 2 5 2

FINLAND 7 4 2 0 1 16
RUSSIA 7 5 0 0 2 15
USA 7 5 0 0 2 15
SLOVAKIA 7 3 0 1 3 10
GERMANY 7 2 1 1 3 9
LATVIA 7 2 0 1 4 7
FRANCE 7 2 0 1 4 7
AUSTRIA 7 1 1 0 5 5

Andrew Ladd CAN 7 3 1 4 2 +2
Jacob Trouba USA 5 1 1 2 0 0
Arturs Kulda LAT 6 1 1 2 4 -5

Ondrej Pavelec CZE 4 3 1 1.26 .937 1


That's more than Russia (or the Soviet Union) had ever allowed in a World Championship game before today's game.

Craig Smith had five assists, while team captain Paul Stastny scored two and added two assists, and John Gibson made 31 saves for the Americans. The 19-year-old, who led the U.S. to World Junior gold in January, came to Helsinki with only one professional game (for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals) under his belt.

Alexander Ovechkin, who arrived yesterday, scored one and added an assist for Russia. He was selected as best player for his team.

"We are where we wanted to be coming into this tournament," said the USA's Stephen Gionta. "We took care of what we had to to, and we got some bounces our way, which is always nice."

"I thought we played a pretty solid team game today," Gionta continued. "We tried to clog up everything, take away their speed, and keep the puck in their end. I think our game plan worked."

The Americans opened the scoring midway through the first period. They cycled the puck in the Russian corner, and Craig Smith shook off a Russian defenseman, spun around and sent a backhander out front. Ilya Nikulin had missed Paul Stastny driving to the net, and Smith’s pass landed right on Stastny’s stick. He slammed it in at 11:53 to give the USA a lead in the game.

Bilyaletdinov looked even more worried when T.J. Oshie beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a wrister from the right faceoff dot exactly 40 seconds later. Tim Stapleton sent a nice pass to an empty space, and Oshie picked it up and fired a shot that went under Bryzgalov’s arm and into the net.

But Russia made it a one-goal game less than three minutes later, when Sergei Soin won a puck battle in the neutral zone, carried the the puck to the Russian zone, and spun around and sent a pass through the slot. Alexander Svitov one-timed it in at the far post, with four and a half minutes remaining in the period.

The Russians had the game’s first power play at the end of the first period, and to start the second, but they couldn’t capitalize on it.

Russia put the U.S. on their heels early in the second period, but right in the middle of another Russian attack, they turned the puck over at the American blue line. Ryan Carter picked it up, and drove down the right lane, and then found Nate Thompson driving to the net. Thompson one-timed Carter’s saucer pass through Bryzgalov’s five-hole, and the puck hit the post and crossed the goal line at 5:45 into the period, giving the U.S. a two-goal cushion again.

Another Russian turnover, this time in their own zone, turned out to be costly. Yevgeni Kuznetsov was trying to move the puck forward one-handed, but Paul Stastny intercepted his pass, and moved the puck quickly to Craig Smith on the right faceoff dot. Alex Galchenyuk drove to the net, and as Smith’s saucer pass landed on his stick, he deked Bryzgalov, putting the puck in and giving Team USA a 4-1 lead with 2:29 remaining in the second period.

After the following shift, coach Bilyaletdinov made a goalie change, inserting backup Semyon Varlamov.

Ovechkin cut the deficit to two goals for the Russians just 1:33 into the third period. He went around Stephen Gionta and took a shot from the outside, but his hard wrist shot beat Gibson on the short side. The video review showed that the puck hit the back of the net and came out of the net as quickly as it had entered it.

On the next shift, Gionta received a roughing minor, and the Russian power play got to work. Alexander Radulov had the puck on the blue line, and fanned on it, sending Carter and Thompson on a 2-on-1 attack. This time Carter took the shot himself, and beat Varlamov with a shot through the five-hole, at 2:55.

At 3:40 of the third, the Russian power play clicked. Ovechkin, standng at the half-boards, sent the puck to Popov, who found Alexander Perezhogin in the slot, and he beat Gibson with a wrist shot from up close.

With 11:49 remaining in the game, Jacob Trouba made it 6-3 with a good shot from the point through traffic.

David Moss sent a wrist shot from the high slot, and beat Varlamov through the five-hole, at 9:56. Just 11 seconds later, Stastny completed the rout with a wrist shot from the door step, assisted by Craig Smith with another beautiful no-look pass.

The goal was Stastny’s 13th point in the tournament, temporarily putting him into a tie with Kovalchuk for the overall points lead.

Team USA moves on to the semi-final, and takes on the winner of the Switzerland-Czech Republic game.



STOCKHOLM – Switzerland has done the improbable. Paced by exceptional defence and timely scoring, Switzerland defeated Czech Republic 2-1 in the first quarter-final game of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden.

Switzerland now faces Team USA in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Head coach Sean Simpson has taken this team from 11th place in 2012 to its first semi-final appearance since 1998 on the momentum of eight straight wins in this tournament. Switzerland’s last quarter-final appearance was in 2010, losing 1-0 to Germany.

Last year the Czech Republic made the quarter-finals where they beat Sweden here in Stockholm on their way to a bronze medal.

Switzerland made it 1-0 when Denis Hollenstein scored. Severin Blindenbacher’s thread the needle pass to Hollenstein out the Swiss out in front.  For Hollenstein, who was tied for the team lead in scoring coming into the game, it was his fourth goal of the World Championship.

Switzerland was forced to employ their shorthanded special teams units in the first. Three minor penalties were killed off between the first and second period. Their power play that’s been the catalyst for their run in the tournament was important in the middle period and help to establish a two-goal lead.

Roman Josi, also having his finest individual performance at this tournament, made it 2-0 on the power play at 13:08. Up with a two goal lead, Switzerland would further close the door on the Czechs.

The Czech Republic cut the lead in the third with Zdenek Kutlak’s power play goal at 5:29. With the assist, Tomas Plekanec has four helpers in his only two games of the tournament.

The Czechs tried everything they could to tie things up as time dwindled down in regulation. With a minute left in the game, Pavelec went to the bench for an extra skater. Thought they tried to equalize the game, the Czech Republic would fall short.

When the final buzzer sounded, Swiss fans in attendance were jubilant.

For Martin Gerber it was sweet vindication. He started Switzerland’s last quarter-final game that his team lost in 2010. Getting the win for his team and moving to the semi-finals against Team USA brought satisfaction.


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