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US ousts Czechs, 5-2

  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

    Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

  • Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

    Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

  • USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic with teammates Phil Kessel (81) and USA defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
  • Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma looks up at the scoreboard during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic at Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
  • USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • USA forward David Backes (42) and USA forward Ryan Callahan (24) try to gain control of the puck in front of the the Czech Republic goal as Czech Republic defenseman Radko Gudas (3), Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) and Czech Republic goaltender Alexander Salak defend during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • USA forward Ryan Callahan an dCzech Republic forward Jaromir Jagr battle against the boards for control of the puck during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • USA forward Zach Parise celebrates his goal against the Czech Republic during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • USA forward Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Czech Republic goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks up during the second period after the fourth U.S. goal at the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Czech Republic defenseman Michal Rozsival pins USA forward Dustin Brown agains the glass during the second period of men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

SOCHI, Russia — The United States’ hockey team is getting exactly what it wanted. Another shot at Canada.

Dustin Brown banged in a go-ahead goal late in the first period and the Americans went on to dominate the Czech Republic 5-2 Wednesday to earn a spot in the semifinals for the third time in four Olympics.

The U.S. went on to play in the gold-medal game in 2010 and 2002 and lost each time to the Canadians.

When the Americans’ coach, Dan Bylsma, was asked to look ahead to the matchup, he took a deep breath and paused for several seconds to gather his thoughts.

“We knew we were going to have some big games prior to this point in time, but you were looking forward to the possibility of this rematch,” he said.

After a day off, the countries that share a long border in North America and generally friendly relations will meet on Friday for the chance to become hockey champions of the Sochi Games.

“It’s a great opportunity,” American forward Max Pacioretty said. “They’re obviously the favorite coming into the tournament, and we’ve opened up a lot of eyes with our play, but we have more in the tank to give and to show.

“We keep getting better every game and hopefully we’ll keep getting better after this one.”

While the Canadians had to hold off Latvia 2-1, the U.S. might be peaking at the right time to improve its chances to win Olympic hockey gold for the first time since the “Miracle on Ice,” in 1980.

If the U.S. wins two more games, anyone who has been watching them play won’t be surprised.

“This is a team that has put up a spectacular performance,” Czech Republic coach Alois Hadamczik said.

And it wasn’t the first time in Sochi.

The U.S. has been tested only once, in a 3-2, eight-round shootout against the host Russians in the preliminary round. The Americans crushed the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia by a combined score of 17-4.

The Americans shaped their roster with players who skate fast, hit hard, share the puck and score.

“It starts off the ice,” Pacioretty said. “Everyone on this team realizes you have to play for the team and check your ego at the door. All of us are the top players on our team back home and you come here and you’re asked to play different roles.

“You see everyone in the room, willing to go to the dirty areas, block shots, make hits. It’s nice to see when you see a guy like Patty Kane backchecking as hard as he can across the ice. It kind of puts things in perspective.”

While the Czechs had to play for a second straight day because they needed to beat Slovakia in the qualification round just to reach the quarterfinals, the rested Americans were ready to roll after two days off.

The U.S. seemed to take advantage of having fresh legs, beating the Czech Republic to loose pucks all night long.

“They had more energy,” Czech goalie Ondrej Pavelec said. “It’s not an excuse, it’s just the way it is.”

James van Riemsdyk gave the Americans a lead 1:39 into the game.

They lost it a few minutes later when one of their defenseman, Ryan McDonagh, tried to clear the puck away from the front of the crease and it went off the left skate of Ryan Suter and got past Jonathan Quick.

The Czechs were not as successful scoring on their own against Quick, who started ahead of 2010 silver-medal winning goaltender Ryan Miller and had 21 saves.

Ales Hemsky was credited with a goal that two Americans touched after he did. Hemsky legitimately scored his second one, skating to the slot and snapping off a wrist shot that got past Quick’s blocker with 7 minutes left in the game.

Brown put the U.S. up 2-1 at the 14:38 mark of the first, and David Backes made it 3-1 with 1.8 seconds in the period.

Zach Parise piled on, pushing the Americans’ lead to 4-1 midway through the second period to chase Pavelec after he made just eight saves. He was replaced by Alexander Salak, who stopped 12 shots.

Canada 2, Latvia 1 — Canada put shots by the dozens on Kristers Gudlevskis, and Latvia’s kid goalie stopped nearly everything in a performance that grew from sensational to a bit supernatural.

Late in the third period, Canada finally replaced all that quantity with quality. Shea Weber’s slap shot is widely considered the best in hockey, and it put the defending Olympic champions past the lively underdogs — and into a rematch with their neighbors.

Weber scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 6:54 to play, and Canada survived an enormous scare from Latvia to advance to the Olympic men’s hockey semifinals with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

Carey Price made 15 saves for the Canadians, who were stretched to the limit by Gudlevskis. The 21-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning prospect made 55 saves in a spectacular performance, nearly pulling off one of the biggest upsets in hockey history largely by himself.

“That was one of the best goaltending performances I’ve ever seen,” said Price, the Montreal Canadiens’ three-time NHL All-Star goalie.

Weber unleashed his peerless slapper late in a power play, and Canada finally took the lead on its 54th shot. An entire hockey-worshipping nation exhaled.

“We had a lot of chances, but we knew it was going to be tough,” said Weber, who injured Latvia defenseman Oskars Bartulis with his slap shot earlier in the third. “You saw how many shots we had to take. You just have to stay focused and patient and stick to what you do well. Eventually, finally, it paid off for us.”

One night after 11th-seeded Latvia recorded its first Olympic victory in 12 years to reach its first quarterfinals, Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan’s team improbably tested the champs.

“I play for my teammates, because they play so good every game,” said Gudlevskis, who has played mostly for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse lately. “They did everything tonight and I just wanted to give them the opportunity to win this game. ... You start to believe and then you just work hard.”

Lauris Darzins scored a breakaway goal in the first period for Latvia, which lost all three of its preliminary-round games before surprising Switzerland 3-1 on Tuesday. The Baltic nation of 2 million people has been in the last four Olympic fields after a 66-year absence, but hadn’t won a game since 2002.

“It doesn’t matter how many shots you get, it’s how many go in the net,” Nolan said. “So to play them tough the way we did, I’m extremely proud.”

Patrick Sharp scored in the first period for the Canadians, who cruised unbeaten through the preliminary round with three victories before running into big trouble in the quarterfinals.

Canada also lost forward John Tavares for the rest of the tournament with a leg injury. The New York Islanders star was checked into the boards by Latvia’s Arturs Kulda in the second period, thinning Canada’s formidable depth.

Canada, which has won two of the last three Olympic tournaments, is the first defending champion to return to the semifinals since the current Olympic format was introduced in 1992.

A few hours after Russia’s Olympic run ended at the Bolshoy Ice Dome with a quarterfinal loss to Finland, Canada created some eerie echoes of the Russians’ downfall: Pedigreed forwards failing to score, defensemen making key mistakes and opposing goalies playing phenomenal hockey.

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