Sweden, Czech Republic reach world ice hockey semifinals

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sweden, Czechs advance to ice hockey semis

COLOGNE, Germany — Sweden and the Czech Republic will meet in the semifinals of the ice hockey world championship.

Sweden beat first-time quarterfinalist Denmark 4-2 on Thursday, and the Czech Republic beat Finland 2-1 in a shootout, with goalie Tomas Vokoun saving 29 shots and forcing two penalty misses.

Sweden’s only loss in the tournament came against the Czechs.

Late Thursday, two-time defending champion Russia was playing Canada, runner-up in the last two finals, and host Germany was taking on Switzerland.

In a rematch of the Olympic quarterfinals, which Finland won in Vancouver, Finland opened the scoring just 55 seconds in when Petri Kontiola streaked down the center of the Czech defense and beat Vokoun.

The Czechs were much dangerous in the second period but did not beat Finnish netminder Pekka Rinne until 1:12 into the third as Jakub Klepis blasted home from just inside the blue line.

Finland was unable to take advantage of a four-on-three power play midway through the 10-minute overtime.

Lukas Kaspar and Jan Marek converted in the shootout for the Czechs but Jossi Jokinen missed right and Kontiola missed high to send the Czechs into the last four.

In Mannheim, Marcus Nilson scored on the power play in the first period, Jonas Andersson made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second, and Rickard Wallin gave Sweden a 3-0 advantage with a short-handed goal five minutes later.

Jesper Damgaard trimmed the deficit to 3-1 50 seconds later for Denmark.

Late in the game, Linus Omark scored for Sweden and Morten Madsen added a goal for Denmark, both on the power play.

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