PRAGUE (AP) – Forward Tyler Seguin scored a hat trick as Canada cruised past Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship on Thursday.
In Ostrava, Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle scored 57 seconds apart as the United States rallied for a 3-1 victory over Switzerland, and awaited either defending champion Russia or Sweden.
Canada finally ended a sequence of losing in the quarterfinals at five consecutive worlds.
With his three, Seguin joined Sweden’s Filip Forsberg at the top of the worlds scoring chart with eight goals.
“We won by the margin because we kept playing our game,” Seguin said. “We’re looking forward to the semifinal match.”
On Saturday, Canada will play either Finland or the Czech Republic, who met in the other quarterfinal late Thursday.
Ryan O’Reilly and Brent Burns scored two goals apiece and added an assist, and Tyler Ennis and Jason Spezza had a goal each, as Canada hunts its 25th title. It last won in 2007, and has been waiting for a medal since winning silver in 2009.
This star-studded team led by Sidney Crosby has dominated, winning all seven group games, and scoring 49 goals before the nine on Thursday.
“It’s nice to put ourselves in a position to get to the finals,” Crosby said. “The important thing is to get better every game and at this point you’ve got to be at your best. It’s win or go home, so we did a good job today.”
Goaltender Mike Smith stopped 24 shots for his second shutout at the tournament.
“It was just a bonus,” Smith said. “The way they play in front of me is the most important.”
Smith tied the game for the Americans with a wrist shot 10:17 into the second period, and Coyle deflected in a slap shot by defensemen Seth Jones for the go-ahead goal.
“It was a big minute and a big boost for all the team,” forward Trevor Lewis said.
Coyle also had an assist to go with his second goal in three games, since he joined the U.S. after his Minnesota Wild were eliminated in the NHL playoffs.
“It’s always nice to help out with the scoring but it was a great zone tie-up by some of our linemates to create those chances and open it up,” Coyle said.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner scored the third with a wrist shot midway through the final period as the U.S. set up a semifinal against.
Defenseman Roman Josi gave Switzerland the lead 13:04 into the game when he collected the puck behind the blue line, carved through the U.S. defense, and hit high past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
The U.S., which won its group with six victories and one loss, advanced to the semis for the second time in three years. It won the bronze in 2013.