US tops Slovakia 6-1 at hockey worlds, faces Canada in semis

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US players celebrate after scoring their side’s fifth goal during the Ice Hockey World Championship quarterfinal match between the United States and Slovakia at the Arena in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, June 3, 2021.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Colin Blackwell and Conor Garland scored two goals apiece Thursday, and the United States beat Slovakia 6-1 to advance to the semifinal showdown with Canada in hockey’s world championship.

The Canadians, who lost their first three games in the tournament, stunned Russia 2-1 on an overtime goal by Andrew Mangiapane.

The other semifinal Saturday will pair defending champion Finland and Germany, which stunned Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout. Finland defeated the Czech Republic 1-0.

All four winners played their preliminary round games in Group B and faced each other in the round robin. The U.S. beat Canada 5-1, and Finland edged Germany 2-1.

On Thursday, Brian Boyle and Sasha Chmelevski also scored and Cal Peterson made 27 saves for the Americans, who won their seventh straight game in the tournament.

The U.S., which was the top seed coming out of the preliminary round, got first-period goals from Boyle, Blackwell and Garland, and was on its way.

Peter Cehlarik put Slovakia on the board in the second period, but Blackwell scored his second goal of the game later in the period. Chmelevski and Garland closed the scoring in the third against goaltender Adam Huska, who faced 33 shots.

Troy Strecher made an outstanding pass across the crease to find Mangiapane at 2:12 of overtime.

Canada had tied the game at 5:03 of the third period on the power-play goal by Adam Henrique. Connor Brown set up Henrique for a quick shot at the top of the crease that beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

Russia, which finished first in Group A, opened the scoring at 14:32 of the second period when Yevgeni Timkin put a pass from defenseman Dmitri Orlov into an open net.

Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves for Canada, which needed help on the final day from Germany and Latvia to made the quarterfinal round.

The comeback win over Switzerland sent Germany to the semifinals for the first time since 2010.

The Germans pulled their goaltender in the closing minutes and got a game-tying goal from Leon Gawanke with 44 seconds left in regulation. They won the shootout 2-1 when Marcel Noebels beat Leonardo Genoni.

It was another rough quarterfinal loss for Switzerland. Two years ago, Canada tied the Swiss with a second to play in regulation and eventually lost. This time they blew a 2-0 lead on goals by defenseman Ramon Untersander and Fabrice Herzog.

Tom Kuhnhackl cut the Swiss lead to 2-1 in the final three minutes of the second period.

German goaltender Mathias Niederberger allowed only a goal by Timo Meier on the five Swiss shootout attempts. Dominik Kahun also scored for Germany in the shootout.

Jere Innala scored on a rebound at 12:55 of the second period and Jussi Olkinuara made 28 saves as Finland edged the Czechs. Simon Hrubec made 23 saves for the Czech Republic.

The 2020 world championship was canceled because of the pandemic. The Finns won in 2019.

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More AP sports coverage from Europe: https://apnews.com/hub/sports-europe and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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