U.S. edges Czech Republic, moves on to World Junior Championship semis

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The Americans beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in Victoria to set up a semifinal Friday night against Russia, an 8-3 winner over Slovakia in the late game at Rogers Arena.

”We knew if we put together a good 60 minutes of hockey that we’d be able to get the job done and our team was rewarded with a hard-fought victory,” U.S. coach Mike Hastings said. ”We keep saying this process is about continuing to take steps and, at the end of the day, we’re moving on to the next round. We’ll enjoy this tonight, but come tomorrow our focus turns toward the semifinal.”

Josh Norris, Noah Cates and Alexander Chmelevski scored for the United States, and Cayden Primeau made 18 saves. U.S. star Jack Hughes had an assist in his return after missing three straight round-robin games with an undisclosed injury.

”Growing up, USA-Canada in Canada, that’s a dream come true,” Hughes said. ”It kind of sucks we won’t be able to play them.”

Martin Kaut scored for the Czech Republic.

Finland will face Switzerland in an unexpected matchup in the other semifinal Friday.

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