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Avalanche Olympic Update: Feb. 24

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Two players from the Avalanche organization were eliminated during qualification round play Tuesday at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, while two others will have the opportunity to play in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.


Ruslan Salei and Belarus lost to Switzerland yesterday afternoon and Peter Budaj’s Slovakia squad topped Norway (featuring Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos) in the late game.

United States To Face Switzerland
Paul Stastny and Team USA will take on Switzerland Wednesday (1:00 p.m. MT/NBC) in the quarterfinal round after the Swiss squad topped Salei and Belarus on Tuesday.

Belarus became the first team eliminated from the 2010 Games after falling by a 3-2 count following a shootout. Salei, Belarus’ captain, was on the ice for a team-high 26:52, recording one shot on goal and a +1 rating. Click here for a full recap of the game from NHL.com and here for video highlights from NBCOlympics.com.

Salei, in his third go-round at the Winter Olympics, finished as Belarus’ leader in average ice time, logging 22:36 per game. In four contests he totaled one goal, two shots and a +2 plus/minus rating.

Finish Where You Started: Either the United States or Switzerland will do just that. The two teams opened the men’s ice hockey portion of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games by squaring off against each other on Feb. 16. Team USA won that game by a 3-1 count, but Stastny says his club is well aware that Switzerland poses a great challenge.

“We’ve played the Swiss and they’re a dangerous team and play well together,” Stastny. “You saw what they did against us, Norway and Canada. That’s always a difficult team to play against because they’ve been together for so many years.”

In the end, one team will pack its bags and head home, while the other will advance to the semifinals and earn the right to play for a medal.

No Extra Pressure:
NHL.com Managing Editor Shawn P. Roarke writes that Team USA head coach Ron Wilson won’t be placing any added pressure on his top line.

Slovakia Survives Scare
Norway gave Slovakia all it could handle on Tuesday – tying the contest at 3-3 on an Anders Bastiansen tally with 0.1 seconds remaining in the second period - but Miroslav Satan netted the game-winning goal midway through the final frame to help the Slovaks advance with a 4-3 win. Peter Budaj dressed for Slovakia, but did not see action for the fourth consecutive game. Click here for a full recap from NHL.com and here for video highlights from NBCOlympics.com.

Next Up For Slovakia: The victory over Norway gives Slovakia the opportunity to face Sweden in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. These two countries last met during the preliminary round of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, where Slovakia earned a 3-0 victory.

Holos Heads Home: Holos, Colorado’s sixth round selection in the 2008 Entry Draft, capped off his first career Olympic appearance by logging a game-high 29:41 of ice time, picking up an assist on Norway’s first goal and posting a +2 plus/minus rating.

The 22-year-old defenseman averaged 28:56 of ice time in four Olympic contests, leading all players in that category. He finished the tournament with one assist and four shots on goal.

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