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U.S. men’s hockey team makes semis at world championship, eyes best finish since 1950

USA Hockey

USA’s forward Cutter Gauthier (L) celebrates with USA’s defender Henry Thrun scoring the 3-0 during the IIHF Ice Hockey Men’s World Championships quarter final match between USA and Czech Republic in Tampere, Finland, on May 25, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) / Finland OUT (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. men’s hockey team beat Czechia 3-0 to reach the semifinals at the world championship, winning its eighth consecutive game to start the tournament.

The Americans got goals from Calgary Flames forward Matt Coronato, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nick Perbix and rising Boston College sophomore Cutter Gauthier. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Casey DeSmith saved all 15 shots at worlds co-hosted by Finland and Latvia.

The U.S. plays Germany in Saturday’s semifinals, looking to clinch its first gold or silver medal at worlds since 1950 (silver). Its only gold at a standalone worlds came in 1933.

The U.S. lost all 11 of its semifinals at worlds since the IIHF reinstituted a bracketed playoff round in 1992, including last year.

This year’s U.S. team, which includes three 2022 Olympians, has zero players with NHL All-Star experience for the first time at worlds since 2010. In most years, there have been one or two players with All-Star experience while most choose rest after a seven-month NHL campaign or are still playing in the NHL playoffs.

Yet the U.S. has won all eight games under San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn, who also coached the team at the 2022 Olympics (quarterfinals) and 2022 Worlds (fourth place). Before this year, the U.S. had never won more than six consecutive games to start a worlds.

NHL players didn’t participate at the last two Olympics but continue to be eligible for worlds and could return for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games.

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