Czech power play beats U.S., Russia blanks France in quarters of hockey worlds
Russian players celebrate their victory in a quarterfinal match between France and Russia at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, May 22, 2014. (AP / Darko Bandic)
Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:34PM EDT
MINSK, Belarus -- The Czech Republic scored three second-period, power-play goals in beating the United States 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship on Thursday.
Also, Russia blanked France 3-0 to face defending champion Sweden or Belarus in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Czechs will play Canada or Finland in the semis.
Captain Tomas Rolinek answered Brock Nelson's power-play goal in the opening period, and Tomas Hertl, Roman Cervenka and Ondrej Nemec all beat veteran goaltender Tim Thomas on power plays in less than 10 minutes in the middle period.
U.S. captain Justin Abdelkader received a five-minute penalty and was ejected for a big hit on forward Vladimir Sobotka, who needed treatment on the ice and did not return to the game.
Czech coach Vladimir Ruzicka didn't give details about his injury but said he hoped Sobotka will be available for the semis.
Tyler Johnson reduced the deficit to 4-2 with 1:10 left in the game, and added his second 13 seconds later, but it was too late and the U.S., bronze medallists last year, came up short.
"I wish they (the goals) would have come a little sooner," Johnson said.
Hertl and Cervenka scored from rebounds during Abdelkader's penalty, and Jaromir Jagr set up Nemec to drive a slap shot past Thomas.
"We scored three power-plays goals and that decided the game," Jagr said. "But we messed things up in the last two minutes. It was a lesson for the young players, and for those who never experienced that the game ends only after the final whistle."
Russia star forward Evgeni Malkin made his presence felt in his second game at the worlds as he scored a power-play goal and added an assist, and Artyom Anisimov and Alexander Kutuzov also scored at France's expense.
"I felt much better today, I had the time to get acclimated," said Malkin, who arrived from the NHL playoffs. "It was a good win but we could have played better and been more effective."
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovski stopped 16 shots for the shutout.
Another Russian star, forward Alex Ovechkin, returned after he missed a game due to a right leg injury.
"It was a bit awkward to skate in the brace," Ovechkin said. "But I'll play without it the next game, and everything will be OK."