Mathias Niederberger of Germany blocks a shot during the Ice Hockey World Championship quaterfinal match between Switzerland and Germany at the Olympic Sports Center in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, June 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Oksana Dzadan)

US tops Slovakia 6-1 at hockey worlds, faces Canada in semis

US tops Slovakia 6-1 at hockey worlds, faces Canada in semis

U.S. tops Slovakia 6-1 at hockey worlds, faces Canada in semis

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Colin Blackwell and Conor Garland scored two goals apiece Thursday, and the United States beat Slovakia 6-1 to advance to the semifinal showdown with Canada in hockey’s world championship.

The other semifinal Saturday will pair defending champion Finland and Germany, which stunned Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout. Finland defeated the Czech Republic 1-0.

All four winners played their preliminary round games in Group B and faced each other in the round robin. The U.S. beat Canada 5-1, and Finland edged Germany 2-1.

On Thursday, Brian Boyle and Sasha Chmelevski also scored and Cal Peterson made 27 saves for the Americans, who won their seventh straight game in the tournament.

The U.S., which was the top seed coming out of the preliminary round, got first-period goals from Boyle, Blackwell and Garland, and was on its way.

Peter Cehlarik put Slovakia on the board in the second period, but Blackwell scored his second goal of the game later in the period. Chmelevski and Garland closed the scoring in the third against goaltender Adam Husk

The comeback win over Switzerland sent Germany to the semifinals for the first time since 2010.

The Germans pulled their goaltender in the closing minutes and got a game-tying goal from Leon Gawanke with 44 seconds left in regulation. They won the shootout 2-1 when Marcel Noebels beat Leonardo Genoni.

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