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U.S. tops Czechs, 5-2, moves to Olympic hockey semis

U.S. Defeats Czech Republic to Reach Semis


SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Dustin Brown banged in a go-ahead goal late in the first period and the United States went on to dominate the Czech Republic 5-2 Wednesday, earning a spot in the Olympic hockey semifinals for the second straight time.

On Friday, the U.S. will play Canada - a rematch of the 2010 gold-medal game - for a shot to become an Olympic champion. The Canadians held off Latvia 2-1, and they beat the Americans in overtime four years ago.

"It's a great opportunity," American forward Max Pacioretty said. "They're obviously the favorite coming into the tournament, and we've opened up a lot of eyes with our play, but we have more in the tank to give and to show.

"We keep getting better every game and hopefully we'll keep getting better after this one."

James van Riemsdyk gave the Americans a lead 1:39 into the game.

They lost it a few minutes later when one of their defenseman, Ryan McDonagh, tried to clear the puck away from the front of the crease and it went off the left skate of Ryan Suter and got past Jonathan Quick.

The Czechs were not as successful scoring on their own against Quick, who started ahead of 2010 silver-medal winning goaltender Ryan Miller and had 21 saves.

Ales Hemsky was credited with a goal that two Americans touched after he did. Hemsky legitimately scored his second one, skating to the slot and snapping off a wrist shot that got past Quick's blocker with 7 minutes left in the game.

Brown put the U.S. up 2-1 at the 14:38 mark of the first, and David Backes made it 3-1 with 1.8 seconds in the period.

Zach Parise piled on, pushing the Americans' lead to 4-1 midway through the second period to chase goalie Ondrej Pavelec after he made just eight saves. He was replaced by Alexander Salak.

The Americans shaped their roster with players who skate fast, hit hard, share the puck and score.

"It starts off the ice," Pacioretty said. "Everyone on this team realizes you have to play for the team and check your ego at the door. All of us are the top players on our team back home and you come here and you're asked to play different roles.

"You see everyone in the room, willing to go to the dirty areas, block shots, make hits. It's nice to see when you see a guy like Patty Kane backchecking as hard as he can across the ice. It kind of puts things in perspective."

The U.S. has been tested only once in a 3-2, eight-round shootout against the host Russians in the preliminary round. The Americans have crushed the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia by a combined score of 17-4.

While the Czechs had to play for a second straight day because they had to beat Slovakia in the qualification round just to reach the quarterfinals, the rested Americans were ready to roll after having two days off.

The U.S. seemed to take advantage of having fresh legs, beating the Czech Republic to loose pucks all night long.

"They had more energy," Pavelec said. "It's not an excuse, it's just the way it is."

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Jim February 20 2014 at 11:05 AM

KGB Hack and sore loser V. Putin and the Russians sucked. GO USA!!

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jws1141 February 20 2014 at 8:51 AM

Go ! USA !

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CQQL February 20 2014 at 7:43 AM

Jarimir Jagr...the worst carpetbagger in sports history. Has no loyalty to any team or town. His history of lazy defensive play, a lifetime of refusing to check anyone (in Pittsburgh we used to call him the Czech who wont check) his infamous pouting when he didnt get the puck enough, his loafing at center ice waiting for a breakaway instead of racing back on defense. His mood swings, faking injuries, etc. Laziest player in history...an offensive gunner only. Will play for ANYONE for a paycheck...because he has wasted tens of millions of dollars gambling it away in Vegas over the years. He is NEVER seen in the company of a young woman, not even at award ceremonies. I am shocked the Czechs lost with this guy.

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louierey February 20 2014 at 11:10 AM

Everybody plays a different role and his role, his entire career, is to score and he's done a phenomenal job doing just that. He's arguably in the top ten of alltime players. He did what he did for Pittsburgh and eventually, as a free agent (it's not like no other player in the history of the NHL or any other sport that employs free agency) he went to Washington where he realized (again, not the only one) that money doesn't necessarily buy happiness. He then was traded to the Rangers (my favorite team) where he immediately set the franchise's single season goal scoring record and continued to score throughout his entire time there. Although he wanted to stay a provision in his contract that would have automatically kicked in to keep him on the team wasn't achieved and the GM Glen Sather opted not to keep him. I, for one, think they would have benefitted by keeping him on the team. Just saying.

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michael February 20 2014 at 6:24 AM

GO USA

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Tom February 20 2014 at 2:36 AM

USA,USA,USA GREAT JOB GUYS

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Tom February 20 2014 at 2:36 AM

USA,USA,USA GREAT JOB GUYS

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Jean Ahlers February 19 2014 at 11:03 PM

I just wish I could watch it here in Sioux Falls SD. I could not receive it on our TV's today and not sure if it will air on Friday. What time in SD would the game be played?
Thank you Jean

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jkates23 February 19 2014 at 11:59 PM

I think it would be either 6 or 10 am depending on the schedule of the sweden game

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kajunvol February 19 2014 at 10:51 PM

I just watched the little darling sixteen year old skater from Russia fall and hit the ice in her program. I told my wife that those judges would still give her a good score and they did. Why the International Olympic Committee ever stopped showing the judges scoring is unbelievable. She got a good score and is currently in third place. If she were anyone else she'd be in seventh place.This is the reason that judges no longer have to show their scoring. I'd just like to have seen the Russian judges scoring. This is a bunch of BS.

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Rich February 20 2014 at 9:08 AM

FYI - You weren't watching close enough..... the 15 year old fell and is in 5th place, but the older russian girl did a clean skate and is in 2nd. The French girl is in 3rd.

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Vicki February 20 2014 at 9:56 AM

If it had been an American girl who had fallen, she would be 10th or worse. That was the point of kajunvol's comment. The Russians seem to fair very well in competitions where there is voting but put them in a field of having to compete against time or against other athletes and they truly will suck almost every time. Does that tell you anything?

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donahuepapad123 February 19 2014 at 10:29 PM

i think all these teams have a chance to win ??? that why they are in the finals , the team that makes the least mistakes and has just the right amount of luck is gonna win this ??? but they all deserve congrats , way to go , olympians...

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mediaterra2 February 19 2014 at 9:51 PM

We also need to keep in mind that Finland, Sweden, Canada, US had a day off, while their opponents had a very hard time winning in Qualifications yesterday..so, they had to play 2 consecutive games against top 4. And it shows in loss by Czechs to US, and Russia to Finland. The Russian team managed to get too many penalties, and Finns were able to score each time. Great team, very organized, honest, unpretentious...unlike US and Canada. Swedes are the same - playing hard, keeping cool, winning straight games without any help from ref's or going into SO.
Who will play whom in medals games is a big question, but one thing is for sure - it'll be Scandinavia vs North America ..let the best team win! The players are all from NHL, except Finland who has 15 out of 25 playing in NHL. The rest local guys playing for Russian clubs in KHL, and 1 for Finnish club.

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