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Czechs Keeping Pace In Group A

by Ryan Boulding / Colorado Avalanche

CZECH REPUBLIC (5) VS. FRANCE (1)

A commanding performance by the host nation helped the Czechs (2-0-1-1) keep pace with the top dogs in Group A on Thursday.

The Czechs sit fourth in the standings after a 5-1 victory over France at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, just one point behind both Sweden (2-1-0-1) and Switzerland (2-0-2-0).

Canada (4-0-0-0) leads the group with 12 points and a perfect record.

The Czech Republic started the scoring off just 1:10 into the second period, with Ondrej Nemec converting the first of his two tallies to put his team on the board. Vladimir Sobotka followed suit at 6:58.

Third-period goals from Nemec, Jaromir Jagr and Roman Cervenka put a bow on the victory on home ice, as only Kevin Hecquefeuille managed to score for France.

Czech alternate captain and Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda finished the game with one shot and a plus-1 rating in 19:39 of playing time. He was paired alongside Carolina Hurricanes rookie Michal Jordan.

Nemec finished with three points (two goals, one assist).

The Czech Republic squad will play again on Friday, facing off against Austria (0-1-0-2) at 8:15 a.m. MT.

BELARUS (5) VS. USA (2)

Belarus (3-0-1-0) picked up its first first-ever World Championship win over Team USA (3-0-0-1) on Thursday at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic, skating away with a 5-2 decision.

The Belarusians put up three-straight tallies in the second period before the Americans could find the back of the net, effectively leaving Team USA on its heels for the remainder of the contest.

Two more Belarus tallies in the final frame sealed the 5-2 defeat.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Zach Redmond, skating in his second match of the tournament, finished with 7:15 of playing time.

Brock Nelson and Torey Krug scored for the U.S. and college standout Jack Eichel assisted on both markers. Alexei Kalyuzhny scored twice and brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn finished with two helpers apiece for Belarus.

The victory gave Belarus sole possession of first place in Group B with 10 points. The Americans and Russians (3-0-0-1) are tied for second with nine points each.

Team USA returns to action on Friday in a 12:15 p.m. MT matchup against Denmark (0-0-1-3). The game will air live on NBCSN.

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