United States advances past Finland

Updated: January 3, 2010, 2:33 AM ET
Associated Press

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- RPI star Jerry D'Amigo scored two goals, and St. Cloud State's Mike Lee made 23 saves to help the United States beat Finland 6-2 on Saturday night for a spot in the world junior semifinals.

The United States will face Sweden in the second semifinal Sunday night. Five-time defending champion Canada will play Switzerland in the first semifinal. Switzerland beat Russia 3-2 in overtime in the first quarterfinal Saturday.

North Dakota's Danny Kristo, Notre Dame's Kyle Palmieri, Denver's Matt Donovan and Boston College's Chris Kreider also scored. Minnesota's Jordan Schroeder had three assists to push his career points total in the event to a record 26, one more than former NHL star Jeremy Roenick's previous mark.

"Getting up 2-0 on that team kind of puts them back," Schroeder said. "You don't want to get down to those guys because it's tough to comeback."

The Americans rebounded from a 5-4 shootout loss to Canada on Thursday night.

"A lot of good things came out of that game," coach Dean Blais said. "If we knew we could skate with them, then we could skate with anybody."

Eero Elo and Iiro Pakarinen scored for Finland, and Joni Ortio made 38 saves.

"We were too nervous," Finland captain Jyri Niemi said. "We weren't ready to play and they scored right away and we put ourselves in a big whole right off the bat. We didn't have any luck, but you have to earn your luck."

Earlier, Nino Niederreiter tied it with 33 seconds left in regulation, then scored at 9:47 of overtime to lift Switzerland past Russia.

"We know we don't have a big country as far as hockey is concerned, and everybody can think whatever they want," goalie Benjamin Conz said after making 50 saves.

"Sometimes people take us too lightly, like they did today against the Russians, and you see what kind of things can happen."

In overtime, Niederreiter cut across the hash marks and fired a shot past goalie Igor Bobkov. The puck appeared to be deflected in by defenceman Patrick Geering, but the goal was officially credited to Niederreiter.

"I don't know what to say. It's just amazing," Niederreiter said.

Russian coach Vladimir Plyushchev blamed his team's defense.

"It was a big mistake by the defense," Plyushchev said. "It was an elementary task that normally the player would do."

Michael Loichat opened the scoring for the Swiss, beating Bobkov on a wraparound at 8:25 of the second period. Vladimir Tarasenko tied it with 1:16 left in the period, and Kirill Petrov put Russia ahead 16 second later off a feed from Nikita Filatov.

In relegation play, Slovakia beat Austria 3-2.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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