World Juniors: Team USA tops Czech Republic 7-0; advances to semifinals vs. Russia
Auston Matthews scores a hat trick, while Chicago Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz records a goal and two assists.
Auston Matthews scored a hat trick to lead Team USA to a 7-0 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the 2016 World Junior Championship on Saturday at Helsinki Ice Hall.
The United States now advance to the semifinals against Russia, who defeated Denmark 4-3 in overtime in their quarterfinal game. The two teams met in last year's quarterfinal round with the Russians advancing.
Sweden shut out Slovakia, 6-0, to advance to the semifinals against host Finland, who knocked out defending champion Canada, 6-5. It is the first time since 1998 that Canada will not be in the semifinals. The Sweden-Finland semifinal will feature Chicago Blackhawks prospects Gustav Forsling (Sweden) and Joni Tuulola, (Finland) who recorded his first point of the tournament with an assist against Canada.
Both semifinal games will be played at Hartwall Arena with the Sweden-Finland game at 8 a.m. CT, followed by USA-Russia at noon.
Hawks prospect Nick Schmaltz recorded a goal and two assists, Christian Dvorak, a Palos, Ill. native, and Scott Eansor and Alex DeBrincat also scored. Dvorak's tally gave Team USA a 2-0 lead after the first period, while Eansor added a shorthanded goal in the second. For DeBrincat, it was his first game playing past the first period. He was ejected in the first preliminary game for spearing and was knocked out of the second game with a shoulder injury.
American goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic recorded his first shutout of the tournament with 28 saves. He has allowed just four goals in the tournament with half of them coming in the opener against Canada.
Schmaltz scored his second goal of the tournament to open the scoring. The Hawks' 2014 first-round pick skated from the middle of the Czech's zone and to the left before backhanding the puck past Vitek Vanecek.
The second period was the Matthews' show. Matthews, the expected top overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored two goals less than four minutes apart highlighted by Schmaltz's assist on his second tally. Schmaltz recorded his second assist on Matthews' third goal. Matthews leads the tournament with seven goals. The U.S.' goal scoring record in the tournament is eight set by Jeremy Roenick.