The United States played their best game of the tournament Thursday morning en route to a 4-0 win over Sweden in the quarterfinals of the World U18 championships in Sochi, Russia.
The United States jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Tyler Motte(Michigan), who continues to have a strong tournament, and Will Butcher(Denver), and were able to maintain that lead through a scoreless second period, despite being shorthanded two players twice in the period. Mike McCarron(Western Michigan) added a power play goal in the third to give the US a commanding lead, and JT Compher(Michigan) iced the game with an empty-net goal. Goalie Thatcher Demko made 27 saves for the shutout victory.
The win was a bit of an upset, at least on paper, with the Swedes finishing second in their group, while the US finished third in their group, though it would have been a huge disappointment for a US team that has won the last four gold medals in this tournament to not even play for a medal.
The US will meet the winner of Russia and Germany in the semifinals. The Russians are the tournament hosts, and won their group, including beating the United States in their first game of the tournament.