US to face Russia at ice hockey worlds
The United States upset Finland 3-2 on Wednesday at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland, setting up a showdown against top-ranked Russia.
Both teams played two scoreless periods and racked up a combined 84 shots in a test that saw the US come from behind against third-ranked Finland.
The US had not beat Finland since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Dustin Brown, TJ Oshie and Ryan Suter all scored within four minutes in the second period for the US, leading them into a semifinal match against Russia on Friday.
The game marked the return of St Louis Blues winger David Backes, who was expelled from the US's game against Switzerland on Monday after delivering a hit that sent Swiss forward Julien Sprunger to the hospital with a neck injury.
Finland's Niko Kapanen had the opening goal in the tournament's second quarterfinal match, beating US goalie Robert Esche less than a minute into the second period.
Brown of the Los Angeles Kings returned fire at 30:31 with the US on a power play, with Oshie and Suter each beating Finnish netminder Pekka Rinne.
Finland came to within one point after Hannes Hzvonen beat Esche at 37:50 but could not even the score before time ran out.
Finland finished the game with 49 shots on goal versus the US's 35 and Esche was named player of the game for the US.
Close call for Russia
Earlier in the afternoon, Russia eliminated ninth-ranked Belarus but not before the underdogs made it a close game.
Belarus managed to keep Russia without any goals during the first period but fell by a score of 4-3. It was their second-best result ever at the world tournament.
Russia finished the game with 32 shots on goal versus 22 for Belarus but trailed twice.
Captain Konstantin Koltsov scored first for Belarus, at 22:39. Vitali Proshkin followed less than three minutes later to even the score for Russia.
Oleg Antonenko put the former Soviet republic ahead at 33:52 but Vitali Atyushov of Russia followed at 36:39 to put the top-ranked side back in the game. Alexander Frolov scored again for Russia less than a minute later.
Ruslan Salei beat Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the final minute of the second period while Belarus were on a double power play.
Kovalchuk answered with the game-winning goal in the third period, at 47:22. He was awarded player of the game honours for Russia. Oleg Antonenko won for Belarus.
Justin Häne at the PostFinance Arena in Bern, swissinfo.ch
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