TORONTO — Jordan Greenway scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the United States held off Switzerland for a 3-2 victory in a quarterfinal match Monday at the world junior hockey championship.
The U.S. has yet to trail in the tournament, though it got a scare after blowing a 2-0 first-period lead to the Swiss.
Jeremy Bracco added a goal and assist, Luke Kunin scored and Tyler Parsons made 19 saves for the Americans.
“We’re fortunate enough to be moving on,” Bracco said.
The U.S. will face Russia in a semifinal Wednesday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Americans topped the Russians 3-2 in the preliminary round.
“You know what they say, to beat a team twice in a tournament’s hard,” said Bracco, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick. “But we’re looking forward to that. Russia’s had the U.S.’s number in the last couple tournaments and international events, so we’re hoping to avenge that.”
A projected top-10 pick in the 2017 NHL draft, Nico Hischier scored both goals for Switzerland, which held the Americans to just two second-period shots while outshooting them 21-17 overall.
Switzerland had two power plays in the first six minutes of the third, and Hischier tied the game at 2 on the latter following chants of “Let’s go Swiss!” After a scramble in front of Parsons, Hischier grabbed the puck, wrapped it around the net and beat the netminder. It was the second power-play goal of the night for Switzerland.
The Americans grabbed the lead right back 18 seconds later. Greenway, another Wild prospect, tucked a blocked point shot past Swiss goalie Joren van Pottelberghe on a power play.
Greenway finished with a goal and an assist following a three-point outing against Canada.
The Americans are looking for their first gold medal at the event since 2013, when a squad brimming with future NHLers, including Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Galchenyuk, edged past Sweden in Ufa, Russia.
Also in Toronto, Kirill Kaprizov scored twice as Russia beat Denmark 4-0.
Kaprizov, a 19-year-old Minnesota Wild prospect, passed Sweden’s Alex Nylander for the lead in points (10) at the under-20 tournament.
Alexander Polunin and Pavel Karnaukhov had the other Russian goals while Washington Capitals prospect Ilya Samsonov turned aside 14 shots for his second shutout of the tournament. Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Mikhail Vorobyov had two assists in the win and now leads the tournament with eight assists.
The Russians have medals at six consecutive world junior tournaments but just one gold medal in that span (2011).
Later in Montreal, Mitchell Stephens returned from injury to score a goal and set up two more as Canada downed the Czech Republic.
David Kase gave the Czechs a first-period lead, Tomas Soustal got one in the second frame and Simon Stransky scored in the third for the Czechs.
Stephens missed Canada’s last two games with an undisclosed injury, but the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect showed no ill effects in a game Canada dominated 41-19 in shots. Stephens, Chabot and Gauthier were on the Canadian team that lost in the quarterfinals of last year’s world juniors in Helsinki.
Earlier in Montreal, Tim Soderlund and Joel Eriksson Ek each scored twice as Sweden beat Slovakia 8-3.
Carl Grundstrom, Alexander Nylander, Fredrik Karlstrom and Lias Andersson also scored as Sweden outshot Slovakia 50-18.
Goalie Felix Sandstrom made 15 saves for his fourth win of the tournament.