PRAGUE, May 14 (Reuters) - Canada stormed into the semi-finals of the ice hockey world championship for the first time in six years with a 9-0 rout of Belarus on Thursday while the United States rallied to book their place in the last four.
Canada wasted little time getting on the board as Brent Burns converted a nice feed from Sidney Crosby 27 seconds after the opening faceoff while Tyler Ennis, Ryan O‘Reilly and Tyler Seguin added first period goals.
Seguin’s tally was his first of three in the game and put him into a share of the tournament lead with nine goals while Burns led the way for Canada with two goals and two assists.
Canada, the highest scoring team in this year’s tournament, dominated puck possession and fired 50 shots at Belarus goalie Kevin Lalande.
Canadian players, coming off a 10-1 group stage win over Austria, said despite two consecutive high-scoring wins the team would not be complacent ahead of a semi-final match-up against either the Czech Republic or Finland.
“It’s all about how hard you prepare for the game,” said defenceman Patrick Wiercioch. “As long as we continue to execute we will be fine.”
In the early game on Thursday, a young U.S. team fought back from an early one-goal deficit to book their place in the semi-finals on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Switzerland.
Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle scored 57 seconds apart midway through the second period to cancel out a superb solo effort from Switzerland’s Roman Josi, who staked Switzerland to a first period lead.
Defenceman Jake Gardiner added an insurance goal in the final period.
The United States will face either Russia or Sweden, who play later on Thursday, in the semi-finals. (Editing by Frank Pingue)