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Kazakhstan 5, Latvia 2

NHL.com @NHL

TURIN, Italy (AP) - Now it is set: The United States is in the men's hockey quarterfinals thanks to Latvia's 5-2 loss to Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

The Americans clinched the fourth seed out of Group B and will face Group A winner Finland on Wednesday in the single-elimination quarterfinals.

Latvia (0-4-1) entered play Tuesday, the final day in the preliminary portion of the men's hockey tournament, with the slimmest of chances of advancing to the medal round. Latvia needed to win its last game, have the United States lose to Russia and make up a 16-goal differential.

"We knew realistically that it was a pretty wild shot," said Latvia defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

It never got to that tiebreaker, because Latvia failed to do its part.

"Bottom line is we're seeded where we're seeded," U.S. forward Brian Rolston said. "As far as backing into it, we feel good about how we've played."

The Americans went 1-2-1 in their first four games.

Latvia was done in by Kazakhstan's Yevgeniy Koreshkov, who scored two third-period goals. Sergey Alexandrov snapped a 2-2 tie with 7:27 left before Koreshkov put it away with goals 3:15 apart in the closing minutes.

Kazakhstan (1-4), knocked out of medal-round consideration Sunday, grabbed its third lead of the game at 12:33 of the final period. Fedor Polichshuk streaked in on a breakaway, but instead of shooting he dropped a pass back to Alexandrov for a slap shot that beat goalie Sergejs Naumovs.

Kazakhstan padded the advantage just 2:20 later when Koreshkov scored on a penalty shot. He added his fifth goal of the tournament with 1:52 remaining to make it 5-2.

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