The Detroit Red Wings representing the U.S. at the World Championship are onto the semifinals.
The Americans dispatched Czechia, 3-0, Thursday at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland. The U.S. squad features Wings prospect Carter Mazur and coach Derek Lalonde, who is assisting David Quinn behind the bench.
“This was a tough game and I’m really proud of our team and how we stuck to our game plan,” Quinn told USA Hockey. “There’s a real selflessness to our team and that’s been evident from the outset.”
In the other early quarterfinal, Wings defenseman Moritz Seider’s Germany toppled Switzerland, 3-1 in Arena Riga in Latvia.
It has been a phenomenal tournament for the U.S., which rode a 6-1-0-0 winning streak in the preliminary round into the quarterfinal against Dominik Kubalik’s Czechs. The Americans captured bronze medals at the World Championship in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2021, but have not won a gold medal since 1933.
The eight-game winning streak is unprecedented for an American team at the World Championship.
“We’re as confident as we can be, but we know how hard a tournament it is to win in, how hard a tournament it is to medal in,” U.S. captain Nick Bonino told the IIHF website. “Whoever we get next is a semifinalist in a World Championship. So we’ll focus on our game. We’ll watch them and their tendencies a little bit, but the focus has been on us so far for eight games, and we’ll keep it that way.”
Mazur, selected at No. 70 in the 2021 draft, has a goal and three assists in eight games in what is his first outing with the men’s team. His biggest assist was setting up the goal that brought down Group A rival Sweden in the last game of the preliminary round.
The Americans’ win ended what had been a superb tournament for the Swiss, who finished atop Group B in the prelims with a 6-0-1-0 record.
Seider marches on
After an about-face on participating in the tournament — Seider told Detroit reporters a few days after the season ended he had decided not to go — Seider has a goal and two assists in eight games. (In 2022, he had two goals and five assists after eight games).
He got his team into potential trouble when he was given a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct midway through the second period, but the Germans killed off the penalty.
Defending champs out
Wings defenseman Olli Määttä’s Finns had a rough day, losing 4-1 before a home crowd at Nokia Arena to Canada. Steve Yzerman is an assistant general manager with the Canadians, who lost the services of Joe Veleno over the weekend when he was handed a five-game, tournament-ending suspension for kicking a player in the Canada-Switzerland game.
Latvia eliminates Sweden
The Latvians, who needed to win their last preliminary round game to make it into the quarterfinals, continued a dream tournament by upsetting powerhouse Sweden, 3-1. Wings forward Lucas Raymond assisted on Timothy Liljegren’s goal at midway through the second period, which made it 1-1. The Latvians scored two goals less than 10 minutes apart in the third period, prompting the Swedes to pull their goaltender with three minutes to play.
Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
Feeling a draft
What: 2023 NHL draft.
When/where: June 28-29; Nashville, Tennessee.
The Red Wings’ picks (with overall picks in parentheses): Round 1 — No. 9 (9), No. 17 (17); Round 2 — No. 8 (41), No. 9 (42), No. 10 (43); Round 3 — No. 9 (73); Round 4 — No. 22 (118); Round 5 — No. 9 (137); Round 6 — No. 9 (169); Round 7 — No. 9 (201)