U.S. Team Advances at World Hockey
OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Brian Smolinski scored two goals to lead the United States to a 5-2 victory over winless Austria in the World Hockey Championships on Monday.
The U.S., which improved to 2-0 in the tournament, advanced to the quarterfinal round where they will face the Czech Republic Wednesday in the Group C final game.
Team’s USA’s showing was a vast improvement from last year in Switzerland. The Americans missed the second round and eventually finished 12th, forcing them to enter a qualifying tournament in order to play in Norway.
Ted Donato, Chris Tamer and Barry Richter scored the other goals for Team USA, which led Austria 4-0 after two periods.
Smolinski notched his first at 8:36 in the second period, when the Austrians were two men short. Donato made it 2-0 four minutes later with another power-play goal.
Dominic Lavoie and Matthias Trattnig scored for Austria.
``We felt that the competition would be much higher tonight,″ Team USA coach Terry Murray said. ``We knew the Austrians wanted to bounce back from the game against the Czechs. But we got a couple of breaks. We scored a couple of power-play goals.″
Martin Rucinsky had a goal and four assists as the Czech Republic routed Japan 12-2 in the early Group C game.
The Czechs, who have 10 players from the squad that won the 1998 Olympic title but are without standout goaltender Dominik Hasek, have outscored the opposition 19-2 in their first two games.
The Japanese took the lead just 1:23 into the game on Shin Yahata’s goal, but trailed 4-2 after the first period. Then the Czechs scored seven goals in the second period to put the game away.
At Hamar, Slovakia kept alive its hopes of advancing to the quarterfinal round, posting a 7-4 victory over Italy in Group A.
In the other Group A game, Scott Thornton and Rob Blake each scored second-period goals to give Canada a 4-2 victory over Norway.
Canada (2-0) is assured of advancing to the second round with the win. The Canadians are two points ahead of Norway and Slovakia with the top two teams from each of the four pools reaching the second round.
Stephane Quintal and Adam Graves also scored for Canada, which outshot Norway 42-31. Tommy Jacobsen and Sjur Nielsen scored Norway’s goals.