Team USA advances to semifinals, eliminates Czechs

USA forward David Backes (42) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammate Ryan Callahan during the first period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

SOCHI, Russia – The end boards at Shayba Arena in Sochi have some bounce to them. On Wednesday night, they helped Team USA leap over the Czechs into the Olympic semifinals.

The Americans got goals from James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, David Backes, Zach Parise and tournament scoring leader Phil Kessel to eliminate the Czech Republic, 5-2. Backes and Parise put the game away thanks to pucks that rebounded from behind the Czech goal and onto their sticks.

[Photos: Team USA tops Czech Republic in quarterfinal]

Jonathan Quick was solid again in the net, stopping 22 Czech chances. 

The U.S. now plays Canada on Friday night for a spot in the gold medal game.

Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring with a shot from the side of the Czech net that snuck past goalie Ondrej Pavelec just 1:39 into the game.

Less than 3 minutes later, the Czechs tied the game on a goal credited to Ales Hemsky, as defenseman Ryan McDonagh put the puck off teammate Ryan Suter’s skate and into the net behind Jonathan Quick.

But the Americans answered it just over 10 minutes later, as David Backes made a pinpoint cross-ice feed to Dustin Brown, who roofed the puck and made it 2-1, with the disc wedged inside the net.

Backes then had the backbreaker with two seconds remaining in the first.

A Ryan Suter shot from the point hit the end boards. The bounce went directly to Backes, who fired it home.

[Related: Russia's hockey stars go quietly in loss to Finland]

Zach Parise then scored one with the help of the end boards at 9:31 into the second period, as a Joe Pavelski point shot hit the back of the rink and bounced back to the Czech goal. Parise outmaneuvered Marek Zidlicky for the puck and scored his first of the tournament on the power play – chasing Pavelec from the crease in the process.

Kessel scored his fifth of the tournament on a feed from Ryan Kesler in the third on a deflection.

Hemsky notched his second of the night with 7 minutes remaining in the game, but it was too late.

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