USA 8, Russia 3
So clearly the Russians weren’t interested in playing after today. Despite beating the Americans earlier in the tournament, Russia proved to be no match for USA, who easily won the match 8-3. Alex Ovechkin, who arrived yesterday after his Washington Capitals were eliminated by the New York Rangers, managed to score, but it wasn’t enough to make his trip worth while. Paul Stastny opened the scoring for the Americans at 11:53 into the first period after Russia was on their heels watching the play. Not even a minute later, St. Louis Blues forward TJ Oshie beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a wrister from the right faceoff dot exactly 40 seconds later after Tim Stapleton made a great pass right to him. Russia made it a one-goal game less than three minutes later when Alexander Svitov one-timed the shot top shelf with four minutes left in the game. Nate Thompson brought back the two goal lead when he one-timed Ryan Carter’s pass through Bryzgalov’s five-hole, before hitting the post and dribbling into the net at 5:45 into the second period. With two and a half minutes remaining in the period, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk took advantage of a terrible Russian turnover in the neutral zone before Craig Smith sent the puck to Gally, who dangled Bryzgalov’s jock strap off. After the goal, Semyon Varlamov got the call between the pipes, but it would only get worse. Ovechkin managed to score right after the goalie change, making the score 4-2. Carter managed to get a goal of his own, and once again another Russian turnover proved to be costly, converting on the mishap to make it 5-2. At 3:40 of the third, Alexander Perezhogin beat John Gibson in the slot up close to cut the lead to two once again, but it meant nothing at this point. With 11:49 remaining in the game, Jacob Trouba made it 6-3 with a good shot from the point through traffic. Two quick goals by Stastny and David Moss made the final score 8-3, advancing the Americans to the Semi’s while Russia will go home with nothing.
Switzerland 2, Czech Republic 1
Switzerland defeated Czech Republic 2-1 in their quarter-final game to advance to the semi-finals for their third time ever, first since 1998. Switzerland scored one goal apiece in the first two periods, as Denis Hollenstein gave the Swiss the lead after a great Swiss play, assisted by Reto Suri and Blindenbacher Hollenstein, to take the 1-0 lead during the first. Ryan Gardner helped create the second goal after he had a great chance in front, and a few seconds later Roman Josi was free at the faceoff circle and beat Ondrej Pavelec with a powerful slap shot. The Czech Republic cut the lead in the third with Zdenek Kutlak’s power play goal at 5:29. The last seconds of the game turned out to be dramatic after Switzerland got a delay of game penalty with only 22.8 seconds left in the game. Down a goal during the most important time of the tournament, the Czechs managed to create two big chances but Martin Gerber made some fantastic saves to give Switzerland their eighth straight win in the tournament. The Swiss will take on USA on Saturday in the first of two semi-final match-ups.
Finland 4, Slovakia 3
The Finns may have blown a 3-0 lead, but they still manage to survive the hard charging Slovaks to advance to the semi-finals. The Slovaks, who made it to the final last year and claimed the silver medal after falling to Russia, will go home early this year, along with the reigning champions. Finland had a great start to the game, as Ossi Väänänen’s fluky shot from the point at 1:31 found the back of the net with Antti Pihlström screening Slovak netminder Rastislav Stana , who made 21 saves for Slovakia. At 9:49 of the first, Finland doubled their lead when Petri Kontiola completed a great three-way passing play with linemates Juhamatti Aaltonen and Janne Pesonen, before making Stana look helpless with a great deke. Kontiola, who has 15 points in the tournament, currently sits first in tournament scoring. Kontiola got his second goal of the game, stretching Finland’s lead to 3-0 after grabbing a loose puck in front and shoveling it into the twine. With three goals in the first, it looked as though Finland had the game all but won, but Slovakia hadn’t given up just yet. Slovakia managed to get one of their own at 5:03 of the second when Michel Miklik lifted a good wrist shot down the middle through traffic that Antti Raanta was unable to get a handle on, making the score 3-1. At 12:17 of the middle frame, defenseman Andrej Sekera’s rising shot from the center point beat a screened Ranta, and it was all of a sudden close again. Just 30 seconds into the third period, Branko Radivojevic banged a loose puck right to Tomas Surovy who put in the 3-3 tying marker. Aaltonen put an end to the Slovakian comeback when he whipped the disk high over Stana at 8:13 of the third, giving Finland the goal needed to take the win.
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