The U.S. men’s hockey team is one win from its best standalone world championship finish since 1950.
The Americans upset Switzerland, the top team from group play, 3-0 in Thursday’s quarterfinals in Helsinki.
Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins got the shutout, while Ben Meyers of the Colorado Avalanche and Adam Gaudette of the Ottawa Senators scored (Meyers twice).
They play Olympic champion Finland in Saturday’s semifinals with the winner going to Sunday’s gold-medal game and the loser playing for bronze. The other semifinal pits Canada against the Czech Republic.
Last year, the U.S. earned bronze for the fourth time in eight world championships dating to 2013.
The Americans’ last silver at a standalone worlds was in 1950. Their last gold at a standalone worlds was in 1933. Their Olympic medals in 1952 (silver), 1956 (silver) and 1960 (gold) also counted as world championship medals before the IIHF started differentiating the tournaments.
This year, the U.S. placed fourth in its group to grab the last quarterfinal berth. Switzerland was the lone team to go undefeated in group play.
The U.S. roster, which has nobody over the age of 30, includes three Beijing Olympians: goalie Strauss Mann and forwards Sean Farrell and Meyers.
The most notable NHL veterans are four-time All-Star defenseman Seth Jones of the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes forward Alex Galchenyuk.
The head coach is David Quinn, who was also head coach of the Olympic team that lost in the quarterfinals to Slovakia. Active NHL players were not allowed to participate in the Olympics for a second consecutive Games.
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