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World Championship Update: May 12

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Preliminary Round of the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship is winding down, and six teams have now claimed berths in the Qualification Round.

United States Falls Again
Team USA is headed to the Relegation Round after suffering a 3-2 loss to Finland today. Team Finland scored a power-play goal early in the third period to go up 2-1 and Sami Kapanen then made it a 3-1 contest on a tally with 2:02 remaining. The Americans rallied late, receiving a goal from T.J. Oshie with 17 seconds left, but weren’t able to even the score in the closing seconds.

T.J. Galiardi notched two shots on goal in 19:08 of ice time for the United States.

Next Up For Team USA: With two overtime losses and a regulation defeat, the U.S. now heads to the Relegation Round, where it hopes to play well enough to retain a spot in the World Championship’s top division. Team USA’s first opponent in the Relegation Round will be decided tomorrow following the conclusion of Preliminary Round action.

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Switzerland Shocks Canada
Canada came into today’s contest against Switzerland undefeated at this year’s event and with a winning streak against the Swiss that had spanned 76 years. That all changed, as Switzerland pulled out a 4-1 triumph behind a 31-save effort from goaltender Tobias Stephan.

Matt Duchene was named Canada’s Best Player of the Game after recording one assist, a game-high seven shots on goal and a +1 plus/minus rating in 18:32 of action. His teammate, Kyle Cumiskey, saw 12:49 of ice time on Canada’s blue line.

Next Up For Canada: With two wins (six points) in three games, Team Canada finished second in Group B. In its first Qualification Round contest, Canada will face whichever team finishes third in Group C.

What’s On Tap
Preliminary Round play at the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship comes to a close tomorrow, with teams from Group A and Group C in action. At the conclusion of Thursday’s play, the top three teams from each of the four groups will advance to the Qualification Round. The bottom team in each division will be sent to the Relegation Round.

Ruslan Salei and Belarus will take on the defending World Champions tomorrow. Belarus has split its first two games, giving the team three points, while Russia has won both of its contests and owns six points. Belarus is not guaranteed a berth in the Qualification Round quite yet, but can clinch a spot by gaining at least one point via taking Russia to overtime or by winning outright. If Belarus loses in regulation, the club might need Slovakia to provide some help.

Like Belarus, Slovakia (three points) can claim a spot in the Qualification Round by picking up at least one point in this contest. That would also guarantee that Belarus would advance. However, if Team Slovakia loses in regulation to Kazakhstan (currently with zero points), and Belarus does the same against Russia, that would create a three-way tie between the teams. If that ends up being the case, the standings would be determined by goal differential.

Tournament Info
Confused about the tie-breaking procedures? See the IIHF’s “Format and Rules” page.

For a complete schedule, statistics and a list of upcoming games, click here.
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