SOCHI -Team USA’s hopes for hockey gold are still alive after a 5-2 rout of the Czech Republic in Wednesday’s Olympic quarterfinals.
The Americans move on to face Canada in Friday’s semifinals in a rematch of the gold medal game from the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Canadians survived a scare from Latvia to advance with a 2-1 win.
The U.S. avoided the fate of host Russia, which was stunned by Finland earlier in the day, by steadily pulling away from the Czechs after the teams traded goals early.
James van Riemsdyk got the U.S. off to a hot start with a goal at 1:39 in the first period, but was matched three minutes later by an Ales Hemsky tally. That kept things interesting for a while, but the U.S. scored twice more by the end of the opening period and never looked back.
As Jonathan Quick kept the Czechs at bay, Dustin Brown scored at 14:38 and David Backes threaded one past Ondrej Pavelec from a tough angle with 1.8 seconds to go before the intermission.
U.S. captain Zach Parise scored midway through the second to make it 4-1 and Phil Kessel added the fifth at 2:01 of the third period.
Hemsky added his second of the game for the Czechs at 13:00, beating Quick on a 2-on-2 breakaway, but only pride was at stake by then.