UFA, Russia, January 2 (R-Sport) - The United States demolished an undisciplined Czech team 7-0 to reach the semifinals of the world junior hockey championships on Wednesday.
In Thursday’s semifinal, the U.S. will now have the chance to exact revenge on Canada for their 2-1 defeat in the group stage.
“Our goaltender played very well, it doesn’t matter whether this win was easy or not,” U.S. forward Alex Galchenyuk said.
“Against Canada, we need to put more pressure on the goal, shoot more, do not get penalties and play disciplined.”
U.S. left wing John Gaudreau opened the score on 12 minutes converting a deflected shot by Jacob Trouba on a 5-on-3 power play that was one of the first signs of chronic Czech indiscipline that eventually amounted to 44 minutes of penalty time.
The second period started catastrophically for the Czechs as they conceded twice in the first 68 seconds after the break.
First, Gaudreau scored again from the same spot as his first goal, and then Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman made it 3-0 with a rebound hit.
The Czechs replaced goaltender Patrik Bartosak with Matej Machovsky , but it took the Americans less than eight minutes to score again, Riley Barber hitting the open corner off a perfect pass by NHL No. 3 draft pick Galchenyuk.
Four minutes passed before Barber scored another goal and then Gaudreau completed his hat-trick, rising to top of the tournament goalscoring rankings with five goals.
In the third period, New York Rangers prospect J.T. Miller netted the fifth power play goal of the game, tipping in a powerful shot by Jacob Trouba, who registered his fourth assist of the game.
John Gibson, the best goaltender of 2011 world U18 championships, made 31 saves for his first shutout of the tournament.
The Czechs, whose quarterfinals exit matches their performance last year, will fight for fifth place with the losing team from Russia's match with Switzerland later Wednesday.