TRURO, N.S. – The United States will play in a semifinal game at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge today.
The U.S. edged Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday to earn a semifinal berth against Russia today, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. Russia earned a spot in the semifinal by winning Group A.
The other semifinal will be played tonight at 7:30 p.m. between Group B winners, the Czech Republic, and the winner of Wednesday night’s quarter-final game between Canada East and Canada West.
The defending champion United States jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on Wednesday. Tyler Madden scored at 12:25, while Curtis Hall notched a power-play marker with 18 seconds left in the opening stanza.
Switzerland cut the deficit in half early in the second, as Jeremi Gerber scored at 2:02. Paul Cotter scored the lone goal of the third period at 13:31 to ice it for the U.S.
American goaltender Ryan Bischel faced just 15 shots, while Swiss goalie Akira Schmid made 25 saves, including 15 in the firs period.
In a late preliminary game on Tuesday, Jack Dugan tapped home a loose puck with 33 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the U.S. to a 2-1 victory over Canada West in a highly entertaining game at the RECC.
After a fast-paced and physical scoreless first period, the Americans got on the board at 3:03 of the second when a Clayton Phillips shot banked off the skate of Graham Slaggert and right to Cole Guttman, who beat Canada West goaltender Zach Rose for a 1-0 lead.
The advantage lasted just 35 seconds, as Ross Armour finished a beautiful cross-ice feed from Angus Crookshank to pull the Canadians even.
Rose and American counterpart Jake Kucharski took over from there, going save for save for close to 36 minutes until Dugan won it for the U.S. in front of a sold-out crowd.