The United States coasted into the world junior hockey championship playoffs with a 12-0 rout of Kazakhstan last night in Ottawa.

The United States will play Canada in a matchup of 3-0-0 teams today, with the top spot in Group A on the line.

Kazakhstan (0-3-0) will head to the relegation round.

Aaron Palushaj led the United States with two goals and two assists. Colin Wilson also had two goals, while James van Riemsdyk, a Flyers prospect, and Ian Cole each had a goal and two assists.

Goaltender Thomas McCollum made 10 saves to earn the shutout.

Andrei Yankov made 49 saves on 61 shots for Kazakhstan.


* The WBA is reviewing Nikolai Valuev's win over Evander Holyfield, 46, by majority decision in a Dec. 20 heavyweight title bout. One judged scored the bout in Switzerland a draw, while the others had Valuev winning, 116-112 and 115-114.


* Righthanded reliever Joe Nelson signed a $1.3 million, 1-year contract with the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays.

* Pitcher Mike Maroth, catchers Michael Barrett and Raul Chavez and infielder Randy Ruiz signed minor league contracts with the Blue Jays and were invited to spring training.

Philly File

* The National Indoor Soccer League announced that a Kixx game in Rockford, Ill, against the Rampage was rescheduled from Feb. 1 to Feb. 22, avoiding a conflict the with Super Bowl.

Sport Stops

* Auburn's men's and women's head swimming and diving coach, Richard Quick, was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. Athletic director Jay Jacobs said assistant coach Brett Hawke would serve as acting men's coach and co-head women's coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker will run the women's team while the 65-year-old Quick seeks treatment.

* Heather Richardson and Shani Davis won their first sprint national titles at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships in West Allis, Wis.

* Bulgarian sprinter Tezdjan Naimova received a 2-year suspension for a doping offense.

* Freehold Raceway in New Jersey, the nation's oldest half-mile harness racing track, will cut its overnight purses 25 percent next year because of a decline in wagering handle and overpayment of purses in recent months. The overnight purses will decline from an average of $52,000 to roughly $36,000. *