USA clinches spot in quarterfinals

Updated: May 9, 2005, 6:15 PM ET
Associated Press

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Zach Parise was stopped on a penalty shot with 1:25 left, but the United States clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the world hockey championships by tying last-place Ukraine 1-1 Monday.

The Americans trailed 1-0 until defenseman Brett Hauer scored a power-play goal 2:45 into the third period. They couldn't grab the lead despite holding a 39-9 shots advantage.

The best chance came in the closing minutes when Ukrainian goalie Kostyantyn Simchuk was called for delay of game when he intentionally knocked the net off its moorings as the United States applied pressure in front.

Since the infraction came in the final two minutes, a penalty shot was awarded.

With captain Mike Modano, Doug Weight and Andy Roach -- whose shootout goal knocked out the Czech Republic in last year's quarterfinals -- available, the selection of Parise was a surprise.

"I was very nervous," said Parise, who played this season with Albany of the American Hockey League. "But we've been doing it all year in the American League, we have the shootout thing there. I've taken a few. I did the move I did most of the time, and it worked most of the time, but not today."

Parise, playing just his second game in the worlds, skated toward the right of the net and had his back-hander turned away by Simchuk.

"He played a great game for us and is a goal scorer," coach Peter Laviolette said of Parise, the son of former NHL player J.P. Parise. "He's the future of USA hockey."

In the other Group F game, Finland tied Latvia 0-0.

The Americans will have to wait until Tuesday's play is completed to find out who they will face Thursday in the quarterfinals. The United States and Sweden have six points each, Canada and Finland have five, and Latvia has three.

The United States is the only team in the group without a game remaining.

In Group E, Russia beat Kazakhstan 3-1 to remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament. Switzerland was scheduled to face Belarus later Monday in Vienna.

One day after routing previously unbeaten Sweden 5-1, the United States couldn't convert several scoring chances against defensive-minded Ukraine.

"It's frustrating when you're not getting a goal," defenseman Hal Gill said. "We did everything but score. But they rallied around their goalie. They're not a very skilled team. They play smart. Hopefully that missing point won't hurt us."

Kostiantyn Kasianchuk scored for Ukraine at 10:15 in the second period, beating Ty Conklin between the pads with a wrist shot.

"I don't think it should have gotten to that point, with us battling back from a one-goal deficit," Parise said. "We're a better team than that. I think they only got nine shots. We couldn't find the back of the net. They did a great job of clearing the rebounds, icing the puck every time something set up."

Hauer tied it when he one-timed a slap shot from the point that went in low to Simchuk's stick side. Weight, one of the Americans' leading scorers, set up the goal from the faceoff circle, stickhandling and then passing the puck to Hauer.

Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin and Sergei Zinoviev scored in Russia's victory in Vienna.

"We were rather tired from our game against the Czechs yesterday," Datsyuk said. "So all that mattered was winning the game, and we did."

Tight defensive play kept Kazakhstan competitive, but Russia proved to be too strong. The Kazakhstan forwards rarely got the puck close enough to goalie Maxim Sokolov to pose a threat.

Russia, which held a 48-19 shots advantage, clinched the top seed in Group E with eight points. Kazakhstan finished last with zero.

Marcel Goc and Jochen Hecht each had two goals Monday, leading Germany past Slovenia 9-1 in relegation-round play.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE