Dylan Larkin, Nick Jensen and Team USA have advanced to the World Championship’s semifinal round via a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic.
The U.S. will play the winner of the Sweden-Latvia game on Saturday;
Larkin finished even with 2 shots in 21:05 played; Jensen finished even in 11:43 played;
Libor Sulak finished at +1 with 2 shots in 21:11 played for the Czechs, and Filip Hronek had an assist and finished at -1 in 19:19 played.
Both teams spent the first half of the opening period feeling each other out while getting some scoring opportunities. At times, Team USA seemed a bit tentative but at the midway point of the first, they would get their legs under them.
Cam Atkinson hit the crossbar two and half minutes into the game. Later, Charlie McAvoy cut backdoor to the net, taking an Alec Martinez pass but could not uncork a shot.
The Czech Republic went on a power play when Alec Martinez was called for tripping in the offensive zone. The Czechs moved the puck around but kept to low percentage chances. Team USA would have their own opportunity down a man. Thanks to work by Derek Ryan in the neutral zone to force a turnover, Dylan Larkin transitioned to offence and getting in for a shot that Pavel Francouz saved.
Just as penalty ended, Patrick Kane took the puck from his own zone, raced up the ice on the right wing into the Czech zone sending a shot far side that beat Francouz at 10:36. As he has done the entire tournament, Kane provided the offensive spark that his team needed. It was the captain’s seventh goal of the tournament and his first scored at even strength. All six of his previous goals were scored on the power play. Derek Ryan added an assist.
Team USA struck again at 12:19 when Johnny Gaudreau brought the puck into the Czech zone, curled at the blue line then handing off to Nick Bonino. Bonino spotted Cam Atkinson, who accepted a pass in front all alone with time to make a move.
Update #2: Here’s more from MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Patrick Kane snapped a tie at 6:58 of the third period Thursday with his second goal of the game to lift the United States to a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the World Championship in Herning, Denmark.
The U.S. advances to Saturday’s semifinals, when it will face of the winner of today’s game between Sweden and Latvia (2:15 p.m.). The Americans improved to 5-2-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
Kane skated the puck into the offensive zone and got by Detroit Red Wings defense prospect Filip Hronek, who stumbled, before firing a low shot past goaltender Pavel Francouz. Kane has eight goals and 11 assists in eight games.
Red Wings center Dylan Larkin had no points, three shots on goal and an even plus-minus rating in 21:05. Detroit defenseman Nick Jensen had no points, no shots and an even rating in 11:43.
Hronek had one assist for the Czech Republic, while registering two shots and a minus-2 rating in 19:19. Fellow Detroit defense prospect Libor Sulak had no points, two shots and a plus-1 rating in 21:11. The Czechs finished the tournament at 3-4-0-1.
Update #3: Here’s even more from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Kane skated past Wings’ defensive prospect Filip Hronek, got to the dot, and snapped the winner 13 minutes, 2 seconds of the third period.
Coach Jeff Blashill’s team will now face either Sweden or Latvia in Saturday’s semifinals.
Neither Red Wing Dylan Larkin or Nick Jensen figured on the score sheet, but Larkin’s 21:05 of ice time was most among the USA forwards.
Wings’ prospects Libor Sulak (21:11, plus-1 rating) and Hronek (19:19, minus-2), both defensemen, were among the Czech’s noticeable players.
Cam Atkinson scored the other U.S. goal.
Update #4: Here’s Helene St. James’ take:
Next up for the U.S.: the winner of the evening’s quarterfinal between Sweden and Latvia.
Canada beat Russia 5-4 in overtime to set up a semifinal against the winner of Finland and Switzerland.
Larkin has three goals and five assists in eight games in his second appearance at the World Championship. Jensen has four points. Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes, expected to go in the top 10 in the June NHL entry draft, has two assists.
Update #5: Team USA’s website posted a recap and a post-game clip: