Czechs edge Team USA in quarterfinal shootout

VIENNA, Austria -- Andy Roach nearly struck again in the shootout.

Roach held the United States' hopes on his stick but Tomas Vokoun stopped his backhander, giving the Czech Republic a 3-2
quarterfinals victory Thursday at the world hockey championship.

Martin Rucinsky netted the lone shootout goal, sending the
Czechs into Saturday's semifinals against Sweden, the runners-up in the past two years. Sweden beat Switzerland 2-1 on Thursday in

Canada beat Slovakia 5-4 in Innsbruck to advance to the
semifinals. The two-time defending champions will face Russia, a
4-3 winner over Finland in another game decided by a shootout in

A year ago in Prague, Roach knocked the host Czech Republic out
of the quarters with the only goal in that shootout. Vokoun took a
lot of blame for that loss.

"Tomas pulled some big saves in the penalty shootout, keeping a
clean sheet," Czech coach Vladimir Ruzicka said. "I'm very happy
for Tomas because not all our fans had confidence in him."

Vokoun was beaten last year by Roach's left-right move that
created an open net. But this time, Vokoun snagged Roach's shot
with his glove and immediately raised his arms in celebration.

"He obviously knew what I did last year, so I tried to do a
little different and go to the backhand, and he made a great
save," Roach said. "They had the momentum going into the overtime
and the shootout, scoring the two goals late."

The United States, which squandered a 2-0 lead, won't get the
opportunity to match or top its bronze medal of 2004.

Roach, a defenseman who played in Switzerland this season after
four years in Germany, was the last of five U.S. skaters in the
shootout. He needed to score to even the tiebreaker at 1, but was
the fifth shooter stopped by Vokoun -- the Nashville Predators' star

Mike Modano and Mark Parrish staked the Americans to a 2-0
advantage that carried over to the third period.

Marek Zidlicky cut it to 2-1 at 1:40 with a wrist shot from the
point that got past screened goalie Rick DiPietro. Jaroslav Spacek
tied it at 9:50, banging the puck in while DiPietro was out of
position after heavy Czech pressure.

"We kind of let our guard down a little bit in the second
period," Roach said. "Sometimes that's what happens. It's not bad

Neither team would score again, even after a 10-minute,
sudden-death overtime period.

After Mike Knuble missed on the United States' first shootout
attempt, Rucinsky solved DiPietro with a nifty backhander.

Doug Weight went next for the U.S., but hit the post.

DiPietro, the 23-year-old goalie from the New York Islanders,
made 50 saves before the shootout. He gave the Americans a chance
to tie it by stopping three straight Czech attempts, but Vokoun
made Rucinsky's goal stand up by turning aside Modano, Parrish and

"It's a tough way to lose. It is something I'm not a big fan
of," Modano said of the shootout. "You play 70 minutes, then it's
tough to come out on a breakaway with any confidence not knowing
what the puck is going to do, whether it's going to sit down or
you're going to have some bobble on you."

Zach Parise, who failed on a penalty-shot attempt in the United
States' 1-1 tie with Ukraine in the second round, wasn't called
upon again by coach Peter Laviolette.

Modano gave the Americans a 1-0 lead 9:18 in when he steered in
a pass from Erik Cole for the captain's third goal in seven games.
Parrish made it 2-0 at 5:47 of the second with a backhander that
found the top of the net during a power play.

Vokoun made 11 saves in the third period and overtime, keeping
his team in the game.

"The overtime period is always a shaky period, but the penalty
shootout was great ... I had a lot of fun out there," Vokoun said.

Canada reached the semifinals by rallying from three one-goal
deficits. Joe Thornton scored his sixth goal of the tournament with
4:22 remaining to put Slovakia away.

Simon Gagne had two goals, and Dany Heatley and Ryan Smyth also
scored for Canada.

"Smitty, Mo and myself pride ourselves on playing in the big
games, and I think we played well," Heatley said of his line that
includes Smyth and Brendan Morrison and combined for four points.
"We were strong in our end. We shook off the early goal, gutted it
out, and wore them down."

Pavol Demitra scored twice for Slovakia. Marian Gaborik and
Michal Handzus added goals.