Courtesy of USAHockey.com
Team USA will play Canada in Friday’s (Feb. 21) semifinals. The U.S. is in the semifinals for the third time in the last four Olympics.
Team USA grabbed a 1-0 advantage just 1:39 into the game. Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) and Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Vancouver Canucks) cycled the puck along the right wall before sliding it to James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Toronto Maple Leafs) behind the net. Van Riemsdyk curled around the right side of the crease and wristed the puck shortside between Ondrej Pavelec’s glove and left leg.
The Czechs tied the game at 4:31 on a scramble in front of the net that was credited to Ales Hemsky.
Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Los Angeles Kings) buried a cross-ice feed from Backes at 14:38 to deliver a 2-1 lead. Suter corralled a blocked shot at the right point and sent the puck to Backes. From the lower right circle, Backes lasered a pass through the defense to Brown, who had a gaping net at which to shoot.
Backes boosted the U.S. lead to 3-1 with just two seconds left in the opening frame. Suter’s shot deflected wide and caromed hard out to the right of the goal. Backes spun to recover the puck and rifled it past sprawling a Pavelec.
Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Wild) notched the third sharp-angle goal of the day for Team USA at 9:31 of the second stanza, making it 4-1. Joe Pavelski’s (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks) slapshot ricocheted off the end boards to the left side of the crease, where Parise slid it under Pavelec’s right leg.
At 2:01 of the third period, Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs) notched his team-best fifth goal of the tournament. Kesler led a two-on-two opportunity down the left side and found Kessel streaking to the right post for a redirection into the net.
Hemsky supplied the second Czech Republic goal with seven minutes left in regulation.
The semifinal game vs. Canada will begin at noon ET and be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.