by Jesse Andreozzi 2-19-14
Sweden may be the number one seed in the tournament, but no team is playing better than the USA at this point.
The quarterfinals proved to be a small obstacle for the American squad, who handled Czech Republic with relative ease en route to a 5-2 win. They advance to play Canada in the semifinals on Friday; a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game that ended in a stunning 2-1 overtime victory for Canada.
Team USA made their presence felt early, with James Van Riemsdyk scoring his first goal of the tournament to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. The Czechs managed to tie it a few minutes later on a fluke goal by Ales Hemsky that went in off defenseman Ryan Suter’s skate. Dustin Brown put the Americans up 2-1 with five minutes left in the period, and they never looked back. St. Louis Blues captain David Backes made it 3-1 with 1.8 seconds remaining in the first. Zach Parise’s goal midway through the second period gave Team USA an insurmountable three goal lead, and chased Czech starter Ondrej Pavelec from the net after making just eight saves.
Canada proves to be Team USA’s toughest opponent yet. Despite a nail-biting 3-2 shootout win over Team Russia, The Americans haven’t faced much adversity in the tournament so far. The team has crushed the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia by a combined score of 17-4. Team USA will have revenge for 2010 on its mind, and should have no problem bringing the same amount of firepower against Canada in the semi-finals.