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Team USA Takes Quarterfinal Shootout Win Over Czech Republic, Advances To Hockey Worlds Semifinals

By Craig Bohnert | May 19, 2016, 1:19 p.m. (ET)

Keith Kinkaid reacts after his shootout game-winning save against the Czech Republic's Tomas Zohorna (#79) during the quarterfinal at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on May 19, 2016 in Moscow.

Auston Matthews found the net twice, including the game-winning shootout goal, and Keith Kinkaid provided stout goalkeeping to propel the United States into the semifinals of the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with a 2-1 overtime win over the Czech Republic on Thursday in Moscow’s Ice Palace.

The rematch of the 2015 bronze-medal game promised to be a tight one, and it delivered as both teams fought to stay alive. The Americans, who emerged from Group B by the thinnest of margins, came out with renewed energy against the Czechs, who advanced as the top seed from Group A after rolling through the preliminaries with a 6-1 record and impressive wins over the likes of home-standing Russia (3-0) and Sweden (4-2).

The scoring opened in surprising fashion as the U.S. sought to take advantage of a power play late in the first period. Instead, the Czechs broke on top when Tomas Zohorna stole the puck from Patrick Maroon and charged the U.S. goal. Caught behind his man, Maroon tripped Zohorna, who then converted the penalty shot for a 1-0 lead at 15:23.

Matthews tallied the equalizer early in the second period, carrying the puck across the front of the crease to slip a backhanded shot under Dominik Furch at 21:27 for a 1-1 tie. Both teams then showcased their penalty-killing prowess to keep the game level through regulation and the 10-minute overtime period. It was the second overtime contest in as many games for the U.S., coming after the 3-2 overtime loss to Slovakia to close out pool play Tuesday.

The Czechs opened the shootout as Lukas Kaspar’s attempt was stopped by Kinkaid, followed by a Furch save on Matt Hendricks’ shot. Petr Koukal put his shot into Kinkaid in the second round, but Matthews slipped his attempt low past Furch to give the U.S. the edge. It fell to Zohorna to repeat his penalty shot from earlier in the game to keep the Czechs’ hopes alive, but Kinkaid slammed the door shut to earn the victory.

Kinkaid entered the match with a tournament average of just under three goals allowed, but was rock-solid in the pipes Thursday, turning away 31 of the 32 shots he faced. Considered by many to be the likely No. 1 pick in the upcoming NHL draft, Matthews now has five goals for the tournament, which leads the American side. The urgency of the win-or-go-home situation was evident as both teams were whistled for six penalties – the Czechs had been called for only seven throughout group play.

The United States, the reigning worlds bronze medalist, will face the winner of the Thursday evening match between Canada and Sweden on Saturday at the Ice Palace.