ICE HOCKEY: U.S. women blank Japan, face Russia in Worlds semis

U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney (Photo: BDZ Sports via Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. women’s hockey team continued its march toward a 19th straight World Championships final with a 4-0 shutout of Japan in its quarterfinal in Espoo (FIN).

The Americans will now face Russia, a 3-0 winner over Switzerland in its quarterfinal. The U.S. pounded Russia, 10-0, in its final group game, back on Tuesday.

Against Japan, the U.S. got a first-period goal from Hilary Knight at 16:48 and it proved to be the winner. Dani Cameranesi scored on a power play in the middle of the second period and Cayla Barnes and Kendall Coyne Schofield added goals in the third for the 4-0 final.

Just as important was the second shutout in a row for Olympic hero Maddie Rooney in goal. She faced only 10 shots against Japan, while the U.S. piled up 53 against Nana Fujimoto.

Russia got a slow start against the Swiss, but took the lead in the second period on an Anna Shokhina goal, then added a second on a third period power play, scored by Yelena Dergachyova. An empty-net goal in the third ended the scoring at 3-0.

In the lower half of the bracket, Canada blanked Germany, 5-0, with Emerance Maschmeyer getting the shutout. The Canadians – who have also participated in all 19 Worlds finals – and now faces Finland, a 3-1 winner over the Czech Republic. In their group game, Canada swamped the Finns, 6-1, back on the ninth.

The semis will be played on Saturday, with games at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time; the NHL Network will have the U.S. game live. Look for results here.