- Associated Press - Thursday, May 16, 2013

HELSINKI — Paul Stastny had two goals and two assists and Craig Smith had five assists on Thursday to give the United States a spot in the hockey world championships semifinals with an 8-3 pounding of Russia on Thursday.

It was the first time Russia or the Soviet Union had let in eight goals in Worlds or Olympics.

David Moss also scored, and five players other players — Ryan Carter, Nate Thompson, Jacob Trouba and the two late additions TJ Oshie and Alex Galchenyuk all had their first goal in the tournament. Goaltender John Gibson made 31 saves.

The Americans will next face Switzerland, who, winning 2-1, put out last year’s bronze medalist, the Czech Republic in Stockholm. Denis Hollenstein and Roman Josi had goals in the first and second periods. Zdenek Kutlak was the only Czech to score.

Russia’s late addition, star forward Alex Ovechkin, started the final period finishing a second Russian goal after 1:33. Carter’s shorthand goal at 2:55 made it 5-2, but Russia again came within two 45 seconds later.

“Everything was timely today,” US coach Joe Sacco said. “The early goal in the last period makes it a new game. As we scored we were kind of getting the momentum back. It could easily have stayed in the Russians’ favor after that second goal. Two goals is not out of reach for that team with their firepower.”

Russia scored again, but the US had a brutal knockout blow waiting. In less than two minutes, the U.S. hit three unanswered goals between 8:11 and 10:07 to go up 8-3. Young defenseman Jacob Trouba, 19, and the smart and tough forward David Moss hit goals from the outside, and 11 seconds after Moss, team captain Stastny made it 8-3 with his second for the afternoon.

“We got to make a good start when our goaltender played well, especially in the first few minutes when they had a couple of chances. He made a couple of big saves to help us stay at 0-0. To be able to take the lead against a very good team like that is also important,” Sacco said.

“We felt proud of our accomplishment to beat such a quality opponent. We capitalized on a lot of our chances with opportunistic play, and we did a very good job defensively, as well as we could against a high power offense. We did it with a lot of discipline.”

“We have come together collectively as a group now. We may not have some of the high profile names you can see in other teams, but we pull together in the same direction. We have tried to implement a style that everybody can play, and all the players have bought it,” Sacco said.

Apart from Ovechkin’s goal for the Russians, Alexander Svitov and Alexander Perezhogin came on the scoresheet. A good Alexanders’ day, but not good enough. Goalkeepers Ilya Bryzgalov, pulled after 4-1, and Semyon Varlamov combined for 23 saves.


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