EDMONTON, ALBERTA – John Farinacci scored twice, Cole Caufield scored on his 20th birthday and the United States advanced to the semifinals of the world junior hockey championship with a 5-2 victory over Slovakia on Saturday night.
The Americans will play Finland in the second semifinal Monday. Canada and Russia meet in the opener.
The United States had a 43-17 edge in shots on goal, but the game got tight after the U.S. took a 3-0 lead. Slovakia ended the United States' shutout streak at the tournament at 218 minutes, 53 seconds on Matej Kaslik's goal late in the second period, then pulled within a goal on Dominik Sojka's tip-in on the power play halfway through the third period.
But Farinacci restored the Americans' two-goal lead by powering in a backhand with 4:14 to play, giving him four goals in five games. Matty Beniers added an empty-netter.
Wild prospect Matt Boldy set up the Americans' first goal, feeding Arthur Kaliyev in the first period.
Gophers defenseman Ryan Johnson assisted on the second goal by firing a puck through a crowd of five players in front of the net; Farinacci was credited with the deflection that sent the puck past Simon Latkoczy.
Caufield was twice denied on breakaways earlier in the period before firing a wrister in on a 5-on-3 power play at 16:53 of the second period.
Canada 3, Czech Republic 0: Defending champion Canada scored two goals in the first period and Devon Levi made 29 saves for his second shutout in the tournament.
Finland 3, Sweden 2: Roni Hirvonen jammed in a wraparound with 25 seconds left and Finland overcame a 2-0 deficit.
Russia 2, Germany 1: Vasili Ponomaryov and Danil Bashkirov scored goals and Yaroslav Askarov made 18 saves.