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World Championship Update: May 13

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Preliminary Round play came to a close today at the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Germany, with three Avalanche players and one prospect in action.

Belarus Drops Decision to Russia
Defending World Champion Russia proved to be too much for Belarus in the final Preliminary Round game for each country, with the Russians earning a 3-1 win. Andrei Mezin stopped 35 shots for Belarus, but Russian netminder Semyon Varlamov turned aside 19-of-20 shots while seeing his first action at the World Championship.

Avalanche defenseman Ruslan Salei led all skaters with 24:06 of ice time in the game and recorded one shot on goal. Through three games, Salei is averaging a team-high 24:34 of ice time for Belarus.

Next Up For Belarus: Belarus, which finished third in Group A with three points, will open the Qualification Round on Friday against Finland.

Norway Upends France
Norway locked up a spot in the Qualification Round on Thursday following a 5-1 victory over France. Team Norway actually trailed, 1-0, after one period of play before scoring five unanswered goals to earn its second victory of the tournament. The club’s other victory came on Tuesday, when the team pulled off a 3-2 upset over the Czech Republic.

Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos once again led all skaters with 27:27 of ice time in the game. Holos, who recorded two shots on goal in today’s contest, leads Norway by averaging 28:46 of ice time through three games.

Next Up For Norway: Holos and Team Norway will face Canada on Friday in their first Qualification Round contest.

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Slovakia Strolls Past Kazakhstan
Team Slovakia took a 1-0 lead at the 18:30 mark of its contest against Kazakhstan and never looked back, cruising to a 5-1 victory today. The win gave Slovakia the No. 2 spot in Group A and a berth in the Qualification Round, while Kazakhstan was left pointless and heads to the Relegation Round.

Peter Budaj played a solid game for Slovakia, stopping 35-of-36 shots to pick up his second victory at the World Championship. The netminder has started all three games for his team, posting a 2-1 record with a .948 save percentage and a 1.68 goals-against average.

Marek Svatos recorded an assist on the first of two Ivan Ciernik tallies in the second period for his first point of the tournament. The Avalanche winger also had one shot on goal and a +3 plus/minus rating in 15:37 of ice time.

Next Up For Slovakia:
Slovakia opens the Qualification Round with a contest against Denmark on Friday.

What’s On Tap
The Qualification Round at the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship begins on Friday, when the top three teams in each of the four divisions open round-robin play to determine which eight teams will advance to the Quarterfinal Round. 

To begin the Qualification Round, Group A and Group D will combine to become Group E, while Group B and Group C will merge to form Group F

In the Qualification Round, each team will play three games within its new group, not facing those teams they played in the first round (for example, in the newly formed Group E, teams from Group A will face those from Group D and vice versa).

The top four teams from both Group E and Group F will advance to the Quarterfinal round, where they will play cross-over games against each other. From there, the four winners move on to the medal round.

As previously mentioned, Budaj, Svatos and Slovakia will face Denmark on Friday, while Salei and Belarus will take on Finland. Also on Friday, Holos and Team Norway will square off against Kyle Cumiskey, Matt Duchene and Team Canada.

The United States will open Relegation Round play on Saturday by facing Kazakhstan.
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