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Team USA Advances To Semifinals; Cutter Gauthier Scores Again

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Team USA goalie Casey DeSmith holds off Czechia.
Team USA goalie Casey DeSmith stops Czechia attack.

Team USA shut out Czechia, 3-0, in the World Championships quarterfinal on Thursday, and yes, the Flyers’ Cutter Gauthier scored another goal.

Gauthier, the Flyers’ top prospect, snapped a wrist shot off a faceoff to give the Americans a 3-0 lead at 9:57 of the third period. For Gauthier, 19, it was his seventh goal in eight games in the tournament.

“He’s got an elite shot,” American teammate Rocco Grimaldi said about Gauthier after the game. “He’s 19. So just imagine in five to 10 years what it’s going to look like.”

Gauthier had a team-leading seven shots and was a plus-1. He skated 21 shifts for 17:38 of ice time. He is the Americans’ second-leading scorer and the sixth-leading scorer in the tournament.

The Americans will play an opponent to be determined in Saturday’s semifinals. The other three quarterfinals are being played today (and we’ll update this post with results and semifinal matchups). Canada plays Finland at 1 p.m. today (Philadelphia time) on NHL Network.

Gauthier has become an international sensation in this tournament with his goal scoring, tight checking, hard skating and laser shots.

Team USA finished the preliminary round undefeated for the first time. Last year, they advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Finland, 4-3.

Goalie Casey DeSmith made 15 saves in earning the shutout. His biggest save came early in the third period when he stopped a breakaway with Team USA ahead, 2-0. DeSmith has been a Pittsburgh Penguins goalie for five seasons.

“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,” Team USA captain Nick Bonino told reporters. “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.”

The Americans’ defense smothered the Czechia offense. Team USA outshot Czechia, 34-15.

Player of the Game Matt Coronato and Nick Perbix also scored goals. Coronato plays for the Flames and Perbix plays for the Lightning.

 

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