After a wild start to the game, the U.S. settled in a defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 on Wednesday to setup a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game in this year’s semifinals against Canada.
Sport: Men’s ice hockey
Score: United States 5, Czech Republic 2
What happened: With three first period goals, the United States took over the lead in their quarterfinal matchup with the Czech Republic. The Americans scored within the first minute and a half when forward James van Riemsdyk, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, picked up the puck behind the net, wheeled around to the strong side and surprised Czech Republic goalie Ondrej Pavelec with a shot that bounced off his pads and into the net.
Though the first goal was arguably a soft one, the Czechs responded with a goal of their own against the run of play. After stopping a backhand shot from Marek Zidlicky, the shot bounced off U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick’s leg pad back out. Sprawled across the crease, the Czechs crashed into Quick causing him to leave the upper half of the net open. Ales Hemsky took advantage for the Czechs, and knotted the score at 1 by lifting a wrister over Quick.
In the last five minutes of the period, the Americans scored twice. The go-ahead goal of the game was scored when David Backes, who forced a turnover in the neutral zone to gain possession, got back into the offensive zone, and ripped a pass tape-to-tape for Dustin Brown, who scored with a wrist shot into an empty net.
Just before the end of the first period, an errant shot by Ryan Suter from the point bounced back to Backes, who ripped a wrist shot just underneath Pavelec’s glove from a tough angle to push ahead the Americans by two goals.
The U.S. tacked on a fourth goal in the second period on the power play when a second errant shot from the point bounced off the boards behind the goal, and allowed Zach Parise to snap the puck into the back of the net. The goal summed up the day for the Czech Republic, as the puck literally wasn’t bouncing their way. Pavelec was taken out of the game and replaced by Alexander Salak.
Both the Americans and the Czechs added goals, but the U.S. was well on its way to the semifinals before the third period began.