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Avalanche Olympic Update: Feb. 18

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Ruslan Salei’s Belarus squad and Peter Budaj’s Slovakia club were both in action Wednesday at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Belarus took on reigning silver medalist Finland, while Slovakia went up against the Czech Republic, which won bronze at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

Belarus Falls To Finland
Finland used a 45-12 shot advantage to skate past Belarus by a 5-1 count Wednesday in the Olympic opener for both clubs. Salei, who is serving as Belarus’ captain, finished second on the team with 19:42 of ice time. Click here for a detailed game recap from

Highlights: Check out highlights from the Belarus/Finland tilt on

Next Up For Belarus: The Belarus National Team’s next challenge will come Friday when the squad takes on defending Olympic champion Sweden at 1:00 p.m. MT.

Slovakia Defeated By Rival Czech Republic
Jaromir Jagr led the way with a goal and an assist as the Czech Republic topped Slovakia by a 3-1 count in what may have been the most stimulating matchup of the first two days of men’s hockey competition. Budaj did not play for Slovakia, serving as Jaroslav Halak’s backup last night. Halak stopped 21-of-24 shots in a losing cause. Click here for a full recap of the contest.

Highlights: Watch video highlights from the Slovakia/Czech Republic game on

Next Up For Slovakia: Team Slovakia is right back in action on Thursday, facing Russia at 10:00 p.m. MT.

Player Tracker: Interested in following all of your favorite NHL players at the Olympic Winter Games? will be updating its player tracker throughout the Games, providing brief updates on how every NHL player has been faring in Vancouver.

What’s On Tap
An Avalanche player and a prospect will go head-to-head in Olympic action on Thursday, as Team USA and Paul Stastny square off against Jonas Holos and Norway.

The two countries, which are both seeded in Group A during preliminary round action, have met up four times previously at the Olympics. Team USA holds a 3-0-1 all-time advantage, including a 6-3 victory during their last meeting at the 1988 Games in Calgary.

In Thursday’s nightcap Slovakia will take on Russia, with puck drop scheduled for 10:00 p.m. MT. These two clubs last met in the preliminary round of the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, with Slovakia picking up a 5-3 victory. In that contest, Budaj bested Russia’s Ilya Bryzgalov by stopping 20-of-23 shots to lead Slovakia to victory.

Team USA Feature: Managing Editor Shawn P. Roarke examines Team USA’s victory over Switzerland on Tuesday and also points out that the Americans know they were far from perfect in their Olympic opener.

In other news, Team USA head coach Ron Wilson announced on Wednesday that goaltender Ryan Miller will start throughout the Olympics.
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