Semi-set

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We got us an AHL semifinalist: Yann Danis made 33 saves as Oklahoma City beat Texas 5-1 Thursday, finishing the series in five games. Mark Arcobello had three points, including his ninth goal in 10 playoff games. They’ll move on to meet the Grand Rapids-Toronto winner, and that won’t be determined until at least Saturday.

Speaking of semifinals: The United States is on to the World Championship semifinals after Thursday morning’s shellacking of Russia, 8-3. The U.S. led 2-0 and 4-1 (chasing Ilya Bryzgalov) and 5-2; Alexander Perezhogin scored soon after that to make it 5-3, but three goals in 1:56 finished things off with 10 minutes left. John Gibson stopped 31 of 34. (Alex Ovechkin flew over there to play on a broken foot. How’s that for pride.) In Saturday’s semifinal (1 p.m.), they’ll have to stop undefeated Switzerland, who rode Martin Gerber’s 33 saves to its eighth win in a row. Nino Niederreiter without a point and with one shot. On the other side of the bracket, Finland blew a three-goal lead but beat Slovakia 4-3 on Juhamatti Aaltonen’s goal with 11:47 left. It’ll be a matchup of the hosts in the early semifinal, as Sweden beat Canada in a shootout. Eric Staal left the game with a knee injury; Alex Edler got a major and a game misconduct for kneeing.

This is, obviously, a curious tournament, European-focused, played amidst the Stanley Cup playoffs, missing most of the world’s best players despite being a world championship. Still, the United States has managed as many 13th-place finishes as it has medals since 1963, and both of those medals have been bronze. Until 1968, the Olympics counted as the World Championship result; 1960, then, is the United States’ only World Championship gold since 1933, and 1933 is its only other title.

It’s two wins away.

(Russia’s entry in the Power Rankings got me.)

@CTWhale on Twitter has surreptitiously become @WolfPackAHL with its first tweet after the official name rechange. (Also appears the old @HtfdWolfPack account is gone, unless the handle was changed and I just missed it. It still existed, though idle since the fall of 2010, at least as of Tuesday.)

Though I matched precisely no numbers Wednesday night, I rather enjoyed the Powerball FAQ. (See also “Real Letters” and despair but laugh.)

Finales are hard. I thought “The Office”‘s was pretty darned good.

And RIP, Dick Trickle.

Michael Fornabaio

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