Russia cruises into semis

, Last Updated: 7:09 PM ET

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic - Russia defeated host Czech Republic 4-1 Wednesday to clinch a spot in the semifinals at the world junior hockey championship.

The Russians will face Sweden in the semifinals Friday. Canada will play the U.S. in the other semi after a 4-2 win over Finland earlier Wednesday.

Russia jumped to a 3-0 lead in the quarter-final game behind second-period goals by Yakov Seleznev, Viktor Tikhonov - his tournament fifth - and Nikita Filatov. Meidl gave the Czechs a bit of hope, cutting the Russian lead to 3-1 with 2:40 remaining in the period.

But Anton Korolev restored a three-goal lead midway through the third and Russia stayed out of the penalty box the rest of the way to reach the semifinals.

Sweden and the United States qualified for the semifinals by winning their respective preliminary round groups. Finland and the Czech Republic will meet Thursday for fifth place.

In the relegation round, Slovakia beat Switzerland 5-2 while Kazakhstan topped Denmark 6-3. The winners secured spots at the elite championship with six points at the relegation group and one more game to play. Denmark and Switzerland are still without points and will be relegated and replaced by Germany and Latvia at the next year's championship in Ottawa.


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