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Ontario, Russia, Sweden and U.S, advance to semis at Under-17 Hockey Challenge @NHLdotcom

The quest for a three-peat is still alive for Ontario at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Garrett Meurs scored twice and Ryan Strome added a goal and an assist in Ontario's 5-2 win over West on Saturday night, moving the two-time defending gold medallists into the semifinals, where they will face Russia.

Sunday's game will mark the first time the two teams have met in the medal round since 2000, when Russia beat the Canadian side 2-0 in Timmins, Ont., for gold.

Meurs broke open a 1-1 tie with goals 5:02 apart in the latter half of the second period, and Ryan Murphy pushed the lead to three before the horn sounded to end the middle frame.

Ben Thomson also scored for Ontario (3-1), which won its third straight after opening the tournament with a shocking 5-3 loss to Finland.

In other tournament action Saturday, it was: United States 2 Pacific 1; Sweden 4 Quebec 3; and Russia 6 Czech Republic 0.

At Timmins, Boston Leier and Wilson Dumais scored the goals for West, which saw its semifinal hopes end before the puck even dropped. The early game between Sweden and Quebec went to a shootout, meaning West could catch neither team, even with a win.

The loss drops West to fourth in Group A, and means it will travel to Iroquois Falls and face Atlantic in an all-Canadian battle for seventh place.

United States 2 Pacific 1

At Kirkland Lake, Ont., the United States is off to its fourth straight semifinal appearance after slim victory over Pacific.

Rocco Grimaldi's goal just shy of the nine-minute mark of the third period stood up as the game-winner, ending the Canadian side's slim semifinal hopes.

Adam Reid had the other goal for the Americans (4-0), who were the only team to run the table in the preliminary round and will look to advance to their third gold medal in four years when they face Sweden.

The loss sends Pacific to the fifth-place game, where it will face Quebec on Sunday.


Sweden 4 Quebec 3 (SO)

At Kirkland Lake, Sweden advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year by downing Quebec.

Karl Johansson scored the only goal in the shootout and Stefan Steen stopped all three shooters he faced as the Swedes locked up a final four berth.

Before this year, Sweden had not taken to the ice at the U-17 tournament since 1997, when Daniel and Henrik Sedin led the Scandinavians to a silver medal.


Russia 6 Czech Republic 0

At Timmins, Russia is back into the tournament semifinals after blanking the Czech Republic.

Alexander Khokhlachev was the offensive catalyst for Russia (3-1), racking up a goal and four assists to give him a tournament-leading 10 points.

David Honzik made 27 saves for the Czechs (0-1-3), who were the only team to finish preliminary round play without a victory.

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