The United States World Junior team dominated quarterfinal opponent Czech Republic, scoring early and often in a 7-0 rout to advance to Monday's semifinal at the IIHF World U20 Championships in Finland.
Nick Schmaltz got the scoring started early with a goal 5:17 into the game. Christian Dvorak would add on to the lead at 15:14 of the period. The Czechs would make a goalie change after the first period, trailing 2-0, but things got no easier. Auston Matthews scored the first two goals of hat trick in the second period and Scott Eansor scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Matthews and Alex DeBrincat would tack on goals in the third period to complete the dominating victory.
The United States advances to the semifinal where they will face a Russian team that finished first in their group, but needed a late tying goal and overtime to defeat Denmark earlier today. The game will be played Monday at 1pm EST and can be seen on the NHL Network
-Coming into today's game, it wasn't hard to envision the scenario where the Czechs at least made life difficult for US, if not pull out the upset. But this game wasn't even close. For whatever reason, the US has just dominated the Czech Republic in recent years. Counting today's game, the US has now outscored them 19-1 in their last three meetings.
-The hidden benefit of such an easy win is that the US was really able to extend their bench late in the game and save the legs of the guys that are going to be playing a lot against Russia.
-You can argue he hasn't done it in especially high-leverage situations, but Auston Matthews is now up to seven goals on the tournament, and 11 points in five games. Even with Finland's Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine having great tournaments, Matthews is only solidifying himself as the top overall pick next summer.
-I wouldn't read much into Russia struggling with Denmark earlier today. The Russians always seem to have a game or two where they sleepwalk through it and struggle with an opponent they should crush. They didn't really have that in the prelim round, but apparently they did today. They'll be at full attention facing off against the US though.
-Canada is out of the tournament after losing 6-5 to host Finland today. A tough tournament for the Canadians who lost that first game to the United States and never really got on track. They drew a tough match-up in the quarterfinals and are headed home without a medal.