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Americans Out, Sweden Advances at World Championships

Brodin, Eriksson Ek continue quest for gold on Saturday against upstart Finns

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

COLOGNE, Germany -- Entering the medal round of the 2017 IIHF World Championship on a record winning streak, the United States bowed out quickly in a 2-0 loss to Finland in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

After being upset by host Germany in the opening game of the World Championships more than a week ago, the Americans rolled to six consecutive victories to close out the preliminary round, tying a U.S. record.

The streak was enough to lift Team USA to the top of the Group A standings and a quarterfinal date with the Finns, who finished fourth in Group B.

But a slow start doomed the Americans on Wednesday, as Finland's Mikko Rantanen scored a power-play goal 1:01 into the second period. The goal would stand as the game winner.

Clinging to a one-goal lead in the third period, Finland tallied an insurance marker at 6:49 when Joonas Kemppainen capped an odd-man rush with a shot that beat U.S. goaltender Jimmy Howard to make it 2-0.

The Americans pulled Howard and played 6-on-5 for the final three minutes but could not solve Finnish netminder Harri Sateri, who finished with 24 saves in the shutout victory.

Howard had 18 saves for the Americans, who are headed home empty-handed for the second consecutive year. The U.S. won bronze in the 2015 tournament and has not finished better than third since winning gold in 1960.

Wild prospect Jordan Greenway, one of three non-NHL players on Team USA's roster, did not register a shot in three shifts totaling 1:41 of ice time.

Brodin, Eriksson Ek help Sweden past Switzerland

PARIS -- Two Wild players kept their gold medal hopes alive as Sweden finished off a 3-1 win over Switzerland, advancing to the semifinal round of the World Championship and a date with long-time rival Finland on Saturday.

Sweden, which finished third in Group A behind the U.S. and Russia, started the tournament 1-2 after losses to both the Russians and the Americans. The Swedes then rallied for four straight wins to close out the preliminary round, scoring victories over Latvia, Italy, Denmark and Slovakia to earn a quarterfinal round matchup against the Swiss, who finished second in Group B.

Defenseman Jonas Brodin and forward Joel Eriksson Ek are the two remaining Wild players or prospects in the tournament. Neither figured into the scoring on Thursday, but Brodin played 27 shifts, earning 17:05 of ice time and committing a late delay-of-game penalty.

Eriksson Ek, who has a goal and two assists and is a plus-5 in the tournament so far, was credited with one shot on goal in 7:25 of action.

Brodin also has a goal and two assists in the tournament and is a plus-6.

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