World Hockey Championship Roundup: Where Heroes Are Born

The qualification round got under way today at the World Ice Hockey Championships.  The top 3 teams in preliminary round Groups B & C form qualification Group E while the top 3 teams from Groups A & D are now part of Group F.

Group E: Russia 6 vs. Sweden 5 (OT) – This was the most exciting game of the tournament so far. Russia and Sweden traded the lead the whole way along with neither team getting more than a one goal lead. It took overtime to settle things between these teams and it was the Russians getting some late heroics from Dmitri Kalinen who scored the game winner with 56 seconds to go in overtime. Mind you, the Swedes got some heroics of their own when Kristian Huselius scored with 74 seconds left in the third to send the game to overtime. Kalinen had two goals on the day while Ilya Kovalchuk had three assists for the Russians. Huselius led the Swedes with two goals and an assist. Russia plays the Americans next while Sweden matches up against Switzerland.

Group E: Latvia 2 vs. Switzerland 1 (SO) – In a day with a pair of overtimes, it was almost fitting that we had a shootout as well. Edgars Masalskis made 38 saves over 65 minutes of action and stopped all three Swiss shooters in the shootout to lead Latvia to an upset victory. Latvia was in tough today after battling the Austrians for a spot in the qualification round yesterday. Aleksandrs Nizivjis scored the winning goal in the shootout and assisted on Martins Cipulis’ regulation goal. Andres Ambuhl scored the tying goal for Switzerland with a minute-and-a-half to go in the third. The Swiss will have a couple of days to recover before facing Sweden while Latvia has an almost sure victory in their next game against France.

Group E Standings
1. Russia 2-1-0-0, 8 Pts.
2. USA 1-0-1-0, 4 Pts.
3. Latvia 0-2-0-1, 4 Pts.
4. Sweden 0-1-2-0, 4 Pts.
5. Switzerland 1-0-1-1, 4 Pts.
6. France 0-0-0-2, 0 Pts.
(Standings include all games against group opponents including games in the preliminary round)

Group F: – Belarus 3 vs. Norway 2 (OT) – It was another one of those big days for Belarus and goalie Andrei Mezin. Belarus came from two goals down to tie the game before Ruslan Salei scored the game winning goal with 25 seconds left in overtime. Mezin was the star of the game for the Belarusians, making 38 saves to keep his team alive. Mikhail Grabovski led the offense with the game tying goal and an assist on the game winner. Belarus will be in tough in their next game against Finland while Norway is bracing itself for a date with Canada.

Group F: – Canada 5 vs. Czech Republic 1 – They may be considered on of the top hockey countries in the world, but they sure didn’t play like it. After dropping a tough come-from-behind win to the Fins yesterday, the Czech Republic were decimated by Canada. Steve Stamkos led the way with two goals and an assist while goalie Chris Mason had to make 44 saves to preserve the victory. Ales Hemsky scored the only Czech goal with less than three minutes to go to snap the shutout bid. Canada will battle Norway next while the Czechs look to get off the qualification round schnide against Slovakia.

Group F Standings
1. Canada 3-0-0-0, 9 Pts.
2. Finland 2-0-0-0, 6 Pts.
3. Belarus 0-2-0-1, 4 Pts.
4. Czech Republic 1-0-0-2, 3 Pts.
5. Slovakia 0-0-1-1, 1 Pt.
6. Norway 0-0-1-2, 1 Pt.
(Standings include all games against group opponents including games in the preliminary round)

Three Stars of the Day:
1. Edgars Masalskis (Latvia) – 38 saves
2. Andrei Mezin (Belarus) – 38 saves
3. Steve Stamkos (Canada) – 2 goals, 1 assist

Friday’s Schedule:
Group E: USA vs. France
Group F: Finland vs. Slovakia
Group G: Germany vs. Denmark
Group G: Austria vs. Germany

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