U.S. defeats Czechs in world junior hockey quarterfinal; Jack Hughes returns

United States 3 Czech Republic 1

VICTORIA — Josh Norris had the eventual winner early in the second period as the United States held off a stubborn Czech Republic for a 3-1 win on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the world junior hockey tournament.

Noah Cates opened scoring for the Americans in the first period and Alexander Chmelevski added an empty-net goal in the final minute of play.

Despite being outshot 41-19, the Czechs kept the game close, with Martin Kaut’s power-play goal coming midway through the third period.

Czech goalie Lukas Dostal made numerous third-period saves to keep his team in the game, turning back the Americans from point-blank range.

The game saw the return to the U.S. lineup for Jack Hughes, who missed three consecutive round-robin games with an undisclosed injury.

Hughes made an immediate impact early in the first period, controlling the puck in the Czech zone and setting up two U.S. scoring opportunities. Hughes received an assist on the only goal of the first period by forward Noah Cates.

Norris was sent in alone on a breakaway at 6:10 in the second period and put the puck between Dostal’s legs.

Chmelevski scored an empty-net goal for the U.S. at 19:21 of the third period.

The Americans led 2-0 after two periods, outshooting the Czechs by a 26-11 margin.

American coach Mike Hastings said earlier the team was watching Hughes’s injury progress and was planning to play him when he was most needed.

Hughes is projected to be chosen as one of the National Hockey League’s top draft picks this year.

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