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Worlds semifinals set: U.S. vs. Russia, Canada vs. Czech Republic

PRAGUE -- Tyler Seguin notched a hat trick as Canada cruised past Belarus 9-0, andEvgeni Malkin scored twice to lift titleholder Russia over Sweden 5-3 in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship Thursday.

In Ostrava, Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle scored 57 seconds apart as the United States rallied for a 3-1 victory over Switzerland, thus earning a spot against Russia in the semifinals Saturday.

Russia lost to the U.S. 4-2 in the group stage, and forward Viktor Tikhonov said his team was looking forward to the rematch.

"It's what we wanted because every time you lose to someone you always want to prove that you can come back and beat them," Tikhonov said.

Canada finally ended a sequence of losing in the quarterfinals at five consecutive worlds to meet the Czech Republic in the semis after the host eliminated Finland 5-3.

Veteran Jaromir Jagr tied the score at 2 in the middle period with a backhand on a power play, and he skated around the net to score the winning goal unassisted with 4:30 left in the final frame.

"We're under huge pressure," Jagr said. "The fans consider us better than Canada. They're excellent players. It could be they'll never have such a great team at the worlds again. If they play their best, we have little chance. We can't give them a bit of ice without fighting."

With his three, Seguin joined Sweden's Filip Forsberg at the top of the worlds' scoring chart with eight goals.

"We won by the margin because we kept playing our game," Seguin said. "We're looking forward to the semifinal match."

Ryan O'Reilly and Brent Burns scored two goals apiece and added an assist, and Tyler Ennis and Jason Spezza had a goal each, as Canada hunts its 25th title. It last won in 2007 and has been waiting for a medal since winning silver in 2009.

The Sidney Crosby-led Canadians have eight wins from eight games, and 58 goals, the most they have scored since 1962, the International Ice Hockey Federation said.

"It's nice to put ourselves in a position to get to the finals," Crosby said. "The important thing is to get better every game, and at this point you've got to be at your best. It's win or go home, so we did a good job today."

Goaltender Mike Smith stopped 24 shots for his first shutout at the tournament.

"It was just a bonus," Smith said. "The way they play in front of me is the most important."

Also in Ostrava, Malkin scored the winner just 26 seconds after Loui Eriksson tied it for Sweden at 3-3 with 5:45 remaining in regulation. Vladimir Tarasenko added an empty-net goal for Russia in the last minute.

Earlier, Sergei Mozyakin and Sergei Shirokov scored first-period goals, and Malkin got the puck past goalie Jhonas Enroth 48 seconds into the second period. He also had an assist.

Sweden answered with goals from John Klingberg in the second and Anton Lander in the third.

Smith tied the game for the Americans with a wrist shot 10:17 into the second period, and Coyle deflected in a slap shot by defensemen Seth Jones for the go-ahead goal.

"It was a big minute and a big boost for all the team," teammate Trevor Lewis said.

Coyle also had an assist to go with his second goal in three games since he joined the U.S. after his Minnesota Wild were eliminated in the NHL's playoffs.

"It's always nice to help out with the scoring, but it was a great zone tie-up by some of our linemates to create those chances and open it up," Coyle said.

U.S. defenseman Jake Gardiner scored the third with a wrist shot midway through the final period.

Defenseman Roman Josi gave Switzerland the lead 13:04 into the game when he collected the puck behind the blue line, carved through the U.S. defense and hit high past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

Beside Jagr, Jan Kovar also had two goals for the Czechs, one of them with an assist from Jagr, and Vladimir Sobotka added one into an empty net.

For Finland, Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov scored.


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