PRAGUE (Reuters) - Canada stormed into the semi-finals of the ice hockey world championship for the first time in six years with a 9-0 rout of Belarus on Thursday while the United States rallied to book their place in the last four.
Russia dispatched Sweden 5-3 behind two Yevgeni Malkin goals to set up a last four meeting against the United States while evergeen forward Jaromir Jagr scored twice to lead the home-town Czechs past Finland for a spot against Canada in the next round.
Canada wasted little time getting on the board as Brent Burns converted a nice feed from Sidney Crosby 27 seconds after the opening faceoff while Tyler Ennis, Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Seguin added first period goals.
Seguin’s tally was his first of three in the game and put him into a share of the tournament lead with nine goals while Burns led the way for Canada with two goals and two assists.
Canada, the highest scoring team in this year’s tournament, dominated puck possession and fired 50 shots at Belarus goalie Kevin Lalande.
Canadian players, coming off a 10-1 group stage win over Austria, said despite two consecutive high-scoring wins the team would not be complacent ahead of a semi-final match-up against the Czech Republic.
“It’s all about how hard you prepare for the game,” said defenseman Patrick Wiercioch. “As long as we continue to execute we will be fine.”
In the early game on Thursday, a young U.S. team fought back from an early one-goal deficit to book their place in the semi-finals on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Switzerland.
Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle scored 57 seconds apart midway through the second period to cancel out a superb solo effort from Switzerland’s Roman Josi, who staked Switzerland to a first period lead.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner added an insurance goal in the final period.
The United States will face Russia after beating their long-time rival 4-2 during group play.
Editing by Frank Pingue