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U.S. beats Switzerland to advance to world junior semifinals

United States Kieffer Bellows, left, screens Switzerland goaltender Joren van Pottelberghe during the first period of a quarterfinal hockey game at the world junior championship in Toronto, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Frank Gunn / Associated Press)
United States Kieffer Bellows, left, screens Switzerland goaltender Joren van Pottelberghe during the first period of a quarterfinal hockey game at the world junior championship in Toronto, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Frank Gunn / Associated Press)
Associated Press

TORONTO – Jordan Greenway scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the United States held off Switzerland for a 3-2 victory in a quarterfinal match Monday at the world junior hockey championship.

The U.S. has yet to trail in the tournament, though it got a scare after blowing a 2-0 first-period lead to the Swiss.

Jeremy Bracco added a goal and assist, Luke Kunin scored and Tyler Parsons made 19 saves for the Americans, who will face Russia in a semifinal Wednesday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

A projected top-10 pick in the 2017 NHL draft, Nico Hischier scored both goals for Switzerland, which held the Americans to just two second-period shots while outshooting them 21-17 overall.

Switzerland had two power plays in the first six minutes of the third, and Hischier tied the game at 2 on the latter following chants of “Let’s go Swiss!” After a scramble in front of Parsons, Hischier grabbed the puck, wrapped it around the net and beat the netminder. It was the second power-play goal of the night for Switzerland.

The Americans grabbed the lead right back 18 seconds later. Greenway, another Wild prospect, tucked a blocked point shot past Swiss goalie Joren van Pottelberghe on a power play.

Greenway finished with a goal and an assist following a three-point outing against Canada.

The Americans are looking for their first gold medal at the event since 2013, when a squad brimming with future NHLers, including Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Galchenyuk, edged past Sweden in Ufa, Russia.

Also in Toronto, Kirill Kaprizov scored twice as Russia beat Denmark 4-0.

Kaprizov, a 19-year-old Minnesota Wild prospect, passed Sweden’s Alex Nylander for the lead in points (10) at the under-20 tournament.

Alexander Polunin and Pavel Karnaukhov had the other Russian goals while Washington Capitals prospect Ilya Samsonov turned aside 14 shots for his second shutout of the tournament. Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Mikhail Vorobyov had two assists in the win and now leads the tournament with eight assists.

The Russians have medals at six consecutive world junior tournaments but just one gold medal in that span (2011).

Earlier in Montreal, Tim Soderlund and Joel Eriksson Ek each scored twice as Sweden beat Slovakia 8-3.

Sweden will face either Canada or the Czech Republic in the semifinal on Wednesday, depending on the outcome of their quarter-final match later Monday.

Carl Grundstrom, Alexander Nylander, Fredrik Karlstrom and Lias Andersson also scored as Sweden outshot Slovakia 50-18.

Goalie Felix Sandstrom made 15 saves for his fourth win of the tournament.

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