U.S. beats Russia to gain semis
HELSINKI -- Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche had two goals and two assists, and Nashville's Craig Smith added five assists to help the United States rout Russia 8-3 on Thursday in the world hockey quarterfinals.
"We felt proud of our accomplishment to beat such a quality opponent," U.S. coach Joe Sacco said. "We capitalized on a lot of our chances with opportunistic play, and we did a very good job defensively, as well as we could against a high power offense. We did it with a lot of discipline."
The Americans will face Switzerland, a 2-1 winner over the Czech Republic in Stockholm, on Saturday in Stockholm. In the other semifinal, Sweden will play Finland.
"We are where we wanted to be coming into this tournament," U.S. forward Stephen Gionta of the Devils said. "We took care of what we had to, and we got some bounces our way, which is always nice.
"I thought we played a pretty solid team game. We tried to clog up everything, take away their speed, and keep the puck in their end. I think our game plan worked."
The eight goals were the most allowed by Russia or the Soviet Union in the worlds or Olympics.
"The team that was more disciplined and better organized won today," Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said. "We have very good players, but you have to remember that hockey is a team game."
Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Svitov and Alexander Perezhogin scored for Russia. But John Gibson, a 19-year-old fresh out of junior hockey, far outplayed Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who allowed the first four U.S. goals before being pulled.
Ovechkin has been playing despite a hairline fracture in his left foot sustained during Washington's seven-game playoff loss to the New York Rangers.
In Stockholm, Fredrik Pettersson beat Mike Smith with a slap shot in the fourth round of a shootout to give Sweden a 3-2 victory over Canada.
"It's the worst feeling obviously," Coyotes goalie Smith said. "Every time we put the Canada sweater on you are expected to win. This is tough to take."
"I'm really happy," Swedish coach Par Marts said. "They are a tough team to beat. We knew we had to play our best game of the tournament. Today everything worked well. I'm happy for Swedish hockey because you have to play for the medals in your home tournament."
Canada lost captain Eric Staal, who was injured in the first period on a knee-on-knee collision with Alex Edler of Vancouver. Carolina's Staal left clutching his right knee and didn't return. Edler was given a major penalty and game misconduct.
"I can't believe we lost," Canadian forward Matt Duchene of Colorado said. "I thought we had the team to do it this year. It just shows you one game, anyone can win. We don't like that penalty shot rule, that's for sure."
In the second quarterfinal in Helsinki, Finland beat Slovakia 4-3. Petri Kontiola scored twice and assisted on Juhamatti Aaltonen's winner, and Antti Raanta made 33 saves.
In Stockholm, Denis Hollenstein and Roman Josi scored for Switzerland.
"It is a real team," Switzerland coach Sean Simpson said. "Whatever happens on the ice, they react to it. It's not easy to play against the Czech Republic."