Americans and Swiss Both Advance to Semifinals

Both the US and Switzerland will be moving on in the 2018 IIHF World Championships. The US defeated the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal game 3-2 while the Swiss downed Finland by the same score.

The Americans jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning when Patrick Kane scored 10:36 into the first period from Derek Ryan. The US doubled their lead a little over a minute later at the 12:19 mark when Cam Atkinson scored from Nick Bonino and Johnny Gaudreau. That gave the Americans a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

But the second frame belonged to the Czechs. They battled back into the game and tied things up. Michal Repik got the rally started when he scored 4:56 into the stanza. He got assists from Radek Faksa and Radko Gudas on that one.

At 10:32, Charlie McAvoy of the US was given a slashing penalty and the Czechs were on the power play. It only took 23 seconds for Martin Necas to convert from McAvoy’s Boston teammate David Pastrnak and Filip Hronek. The game was now tied up and to make matters worse for the US, Connor Murphy was assessed a slashing penalty at 18:30, which would give the Czechs 30 seconds of power play time on fresh ice in the third.

But the US killed that one off and, in fact, it was Kane who was the hero. He scored at even strength from Ryan at the 6:58 mark of the third to give the US a 3-2 lead.

The Czechs would pull goalie Pavel Francouz to try to get the equalizer, but it was not to be. The Americans held on and advanced in the tournament.

Keith Kinkaid made 24 saves on 26 Czech shots while Francouz made 28 saves on 31 American shots.

Will Butcher had a shot on goal and was a plus-1 in 21:01 of ice time over 30 shifts. Blake Coleman had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 plus/minus over 11:14 of time on ice. He spread that out over 15 shifts. Brian Gibbons did not dress for the game.

The US will now play Sweden, who defeated Latvia 3-2 in their quarterfinal, in the semifinals on May 19 at Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile in the later game at Herning, Switzerland was making history. They upset the Finns, 3-2 to make their way to the semifinals as well.

The Swiss actually fell behind early in this one. Markus Nutivaara scored for the Finns at the 7:01 mark of the first period from Miika Koivisto and Mikko Rantanen. It was 1-0 Finland going into the second frame.

But the Swiss would come roaring back in the second. Enzo Corvi tied things at one from Kevin Fiala and Nino Niederreiter at the 9:13 mark. At 12:32, Joel Vermin gave Switzerland the 2-1 lead when he scored from Timo Meier.

Thirty-six seconds after the Vermin goal, Gregory Hofmann gave the Swiss their insurance goal when he scored from Simon Moser and Michael Fora. It was now 3-1 Switzerland going into the third.

The Finns were allowed back into things when, at the 7:22 mark of the third, Fora took a four minute double minor for high sticking. Just 58 seconds into the ensuing power play, Rantanen scored from Veli-Matti Savinainen and Sebasitan Aho to cut the Swiss lead to one.

Finland would pull goaltender Harri Sateri for the extra attacker with about 1:30 left in the game, but to no avail. Switzerland held on and came away with the 3-2 upset victory.

Swiss goalie Leonardo Genoni made 32 saves on 34 Finnish shots while Sateri made 24 saves on 27 Swiss shots.

Mirco Mueller had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 22:28 of ice time spread over 38 shifts.

Next up for Switzerland, they play the Canadians in the semifinal. That game also takes place at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen and results from Canada beating the Russians 5-4 in overtime in their quarterfinal. That game also takes place on May 19.

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