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Women's World Championship Roundup: Canada and USA move on, Finns and Russians join the party

Canada and the United States moving on to the semifinals, as expected, while Finland and Russia locked up semifinal berths later in the afternoon thanks to big performances from key players.

USA powers past Japan 4-0
There wasn't much doubt as to whether the United States would trump Japan to open up the quarterfinals, but Japanese goalie Nana Fujimoto deserves a lot of credit for her 49-save effort. Japan escaped the first period down thanks to Hilary Knight's tally, but USA stretched the lead when Dani Cameranesi scored at the midway mark of the contest. Cayla Barnes recorded a goal and an assist and Kendall Coyne Schofield added a tally to seal the deal. Maddie Rooney was perfect in the American crease, stopping all 10 shots for her second shutout of the tournament.

While the loss is disappointing for Japan, the national team accomplished something prior to the quarterfinal that no team has done at any previous IIHF event: relegate Sweden. The Swedes have never had to play a second-tier game at any level, but Japan's late-game surge on the final day of the round-robin helped keep Japan up for a second consecutive year as they advanced to the quarterfinal for the first time in team history.

Canada still perfect against Germany
Germany stunned the hockey world by placing fourth at the 2017 World Championship, its first appearance since earning promotion from Division IA. The Germans showed promise this year, finishing second in Group B with a 1-1-1-1 record, but there was little resistance in their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Canada. Special teams was the story, as Blayre Turnbull, who opened and closed the scoring, Natalie Spooner and Brianne Jenner all scored on the power play. Canada was relentless on the attack, sending 66 shots at German netminder Jennifer Harss, who managed stop 61. Emerance Maschmeyer stopped all nine shots she faced.

Canada has never surrendered a goal to Germany in seven previous international competitions (five times at the World Championship), holding a 71-0 goal differential. Canada will meet Finland, who they defeated 5-1 Tuesday, in a semifinal Saturday. Canada has lost just once to Finland in 27 international contests. (Finland hung on for a 4-3 victory at the 2017 World Championship.)

Russia rebounds with shutout victory over Switzerland
Russia blanked Switzerland 3-0 victory Thursday, marking the third shutout of the quarterfinals. It was a big bounce back for the Russians, who were shutout by Finland 4-0 and the United States 10-0 during the round robin and whose minus-19 goal differential was the tournament's second-worst. The Russians didn't give the Swiss many opportunities to breathe early, peppering Swiss goaltender Andrea Brandli with 18 shots in the opening period. Anna Shokhina put on a show for the Russians, recording a goal and three points after overcoming a two-game suspension at the start of the tournament due to a kicking infraction from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Russian goaltender Nadezhda Morozova stopped all 14 shots sent her way for her first at the World Championship.

The loss spelled the end of a disappointing tournament for the Swiss. Since winning bronze at the 2014 Olympics, the Swiss have failed to finish better than fifth at any major international tournament, scoring just three goals in five games in Finland this year. Russia now faces the red-hot Americans in the semifinal.

Finns excite home crowd by ending the Czech Republic's run
Finnish fans will have reason to celebrate Thursday evening after its women's team converted an early deficit into a 3-1 victory. Jenni Hiirikoski, a six-time winner of the top defenseman award at the World Championship (including five in a row), led the charge for Finland, scoring a goal and adding two assists. She became the fourth player to tie for the top spot in the scoring race, with her eight points marking a new personal best at a World Championship. Michelle Karvinen also had a three-point night, while Susanna Tapani clinched the victory with Finland's second goal.

Finnish goalkeeper Noora Raty pulled herself after three goals against on Tuesday but returned to lead the charge, stopping 16 shots. Her counterpart, Klara Peslarova, stopped 40. Finland's victory ensured that its streak of playing in the bronze medal game in all 20 of the team's World Championship efforts will remain alive. Its victory also means that no team from Group B will advance to the final four.

THREE STARS:
1. Jenni Hiirikoski, 1G, 2A (FIN) – Another top defender award is in her sights after joining top-scoring fray.
2. Nana Fujimoto, 49 saves (JAP) – Gave Japan a chance against a much stronger American team.
3. Blayre Turnbull, 2G, (CAN) – Scored the first and last goal for Canada.

NEXT UP:
Canada vs. Finland, 9:00 a.m. ET – Semifinal
USA vs. Russia, 1:00 p.m. ET – Semifinal

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