The United States team continued its impressive Olympic run with a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic today in Sochi. The Americans will meet neighbor to the north Canada on Friday in the semifinals.
David Backes scored with two seconds remaining in the first period to break open a tight 2-1 game and spark the US to its fourth win in a row.
James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise (on a power play), and Phil Kessel notched the other goals for Team USA. Kessel's goal was his fifth, which leads the tournament. Defenseman Ryan Suter finished with three assists.
Ales Hemsky scored both of the goals for the Czechs, who finished the tournament in seventh place.
Jonathan Quick turned aside 21 shots to post his third win. Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec surrendered the first four goals and took the loss, while former Panther Alexander Salak gave up the final goal in relief.
Other quarterfinal results:
Sweden 5 Slovenia 0
A pair of New York Rangers came up big today in Sochi. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves to post his second shutout of the tournament and Carl Hagelin lit the lamp twice to lead Sweden past Slovenia. Alexander Steen, Daniel Sedin, and Loui Eriksson also beat overwhelmed Slovenian keeper Robert Kristan. Despite the loss, Slovenia acquitted itself quite well in their first Olympic appearance, finishing seventh overall.
Finland 3 Russia 1
The determined Finns got a stellar 37-save performance from Tuukka Rask to knock out the host Russians. Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring, but Finland bounced back with first period goals from Juhamatti Aaltonen and methuselah-man Teemu Selanne. Mikael Granlund netted the final goal during the second period to push the Finns into the semifinals. Russia finished up the tournament a disappointing fifth.
Canada 2 Latvia 1
Canada launched 57 shots at goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, but needed a late power-play goal from Shea Weber to vanquish feisty minnow Latvia. Rick Nash opened the scoring before Lauris Darzins equalized for the Latvians later in the opening frame. Carey Price made 15 saves to pick up his third win of tournament. Latvia made a surprising run to finish the tournament in the eight slot.