U.S. advances to semifinals

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- Phil Kessel scored three goals and added an assist to help the United States advance to the semifinals of the world junior championships with an 8-2 victory over Sweden on Saturday night.

Kevin Porter, Drew Stafford, Robbie Schremp, Ryan Suter and Tim Hensick also scored for the defending champion Americans, who will face Russia on Sunday. In the other semifinal, tournament favorite Canada will play the Czech Republic.

The 17-year-old Kessel gave the United States a 3-1 lead in the second period and added goals in a 3:06 span early in the third.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," U.S. coach Scott Sandelin said. "Thank God for Phil Kessel. He was definitely the difference for us tonight."

Al Montoya made 29 saves, allowing only Loui Ericksson's two goals.

"We still want to win the gold medal and we still have a chance, it's just a longer route," Montoya said. "To be the best you have to play the best."

The Czech Republic advanced with a 3-0 victory over Finland. Marek Schwarz made 21 saves, and Petr Vrana, Rostislav Olesz and Roman Cervenka scored goals.

"We're very happy with the win," Schwarz said. "I've seen Canada play, they are very good. We're playing very well. I think we're ready to play them now."

In relegation play, Victor Stancescu scored twice to lead Switzerland to a 5-0 victory over Germany.


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