COLOGNE, Germany – Host Germany faces a formidable challenge at the world hockey championship.
Philip Gogulla scored midway through the second period to lead the Germans to a 1-0 win over Switzerland in a quarter-final contest Thursday. With the win, Germany next faces high-flying Russia, which dispatched Canada 5-2 in its quarter-final game.
Russia has won the last two world championships and is favoured to register its 26th career title.
The other semifinal contest Saturday in Cologne will pit Sweden against the Czech Republic. The Swedes beat Denmark 4-2 while the Czechs held off Finland 2-1 in a shootout.
Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 29 shots and forced two misses in the shootout to lead his team to the victory.
“It was a tough game, there were times when I was very nervous,” said Jaromir Jagr, who helped to lift the Czechs to their first semifinal appearance since 2006.
Finland opened the scoring just 55 seconds in when Petri Kontiola streaked down the centre of the Czech defence and beat Vokoun.
The Czechs were much more dangerous in the second but did not beat Finnish netminder Pekka Rinne until 1:12 into the third on Jakub Klepis’s shot just inside the blue-line.
Rinne was busy for the rest of the period with Jagr, Jiri Novotny and Roman Cervenka all having good scoring chances.
Finland was unable to take advantage of a 4-on-3 power play midway through the 10-minute overtime.
Lukas Kaspar and Jan Marek converted in the shootout for the Czechs but Jossi Jokinen missed right and Kontiola missed high for Finland.
“The shootout is a lot of times a matter of luck,” Vokoun said. “I get some, and I miss some.
“It’s a fun way to win, but a tough way to lose.”
In Mannheim, Marcus Nilson scored on the power play in the first before Jonas Andersson made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second. Rickard Wallin gave Sweden a 3-0 advantage with a short-handed goal five minutes later.
Jesper Damgaard trimmed the deficit to 3-1 just 50 seconds later for Denmark.
Late in the game, Linus Omark and Morten Madsen added power-play scores for Sweden and Denmark respectively.
“We were the better team and we knew it,” Sweden’s Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson said. “We never gave them enough space to execute.”
Sweden’s only loss in the tournament came against the Czechs.