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World Championship Update: May 19

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Six Qualification Round games took place Tuesday at the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship, with five Avalanche players in action.

USA Wins Relegation Pool
Team USA needed a shootout, but the squad topped Italy in the third and final Relegation Round contest for each team. The Americans tabbed St. Louis Blues’ forward T.J. Oshie to shoot five times during a shootout that lasted seven rounds. Oshie scored twice on his five shots, including the game-winning goal in the final round.

The United States won the relegation pool, guaranteeing the country will stay in the top division at the 2011 Men’s World Championship.

Avalanche forward T.J. Galiardi was held pointless in 16:41 of ice time. Galiardi finished the tournament with three points (0g/3a) and a +1 plus/minus rating in six games. He also recorded a team-high eight penalty minutes while averaging 17:14 of ice time per game.

Final Ranking: After taking the top spot in the Relegation Round, the United States finished the event ranked 13th in the 16-team tournament.

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Slovakia Bounced
After a strong start to the tournament, Team Slovakia flamed out with three consecutive losses in the Qualification Round. On Tuesday, it was the host country Germany that topped the Slovaks, 2-1. Germany went up 2-0 before 25 minutes had elapsed, but a Marek Svatos power-play goal at 19:17 of the second period cut his team’s deficit in half. However, Svatos’ first goal of the tournament would be the final time either team lit the lamp in the contest.

Svatos was named Slovakia’s Best Player of the Game after scoring a goal and totaling three shots on net in 19:26 of ice time. The forward finished the tournament with two points (1g/1a) in six contests while averaging 16:40 of ice time.

Peter Budaj was handed the loss despite making 24 saves. The Avalanche netminder started all six games for Team Slovakia, posting a 2-4 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.

Final Ranking: Team Slovakia finished the tournament in the No. 12 overall spot.

Canada Drops Another
In another somewhat surprising outcome, Team Canada dropped its final Qualification Round game to the Czech Republic by a 3-2 count. The Czech Republic scored twice in the middle frame to break a 1-1 tie. Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored with 1:11 left in regulation, but it was too little too late for Team Canada.

In addition to his goal, Duchene had two shots on net in 13:05 of ice time. His teammate, Kyle Cumiskey, logged 17:03 of ice time along the Canadian blue line.

Next Up For Canada:
After finishing fourth in Group F, Canada earned a quarterfinal matchup against Russia (the top seed in Group E). These two countries met in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, a game which Canada won by a 7-3 count.

What’s On Tap
Wednesday will be the first official “off-day” of the tournament as the eight remaining teams prepare for the Quarterfinal Round on Thursday.

Cumiskey and Duchene are the only two Avalanche players remaining at the tournament. Norway and Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos barely missed gaining a spot in the Quarterfinal Round and finished the tournament with the No. 9 ranking. Norway was followed by Belarus (featuring Avalanche defenseman Ruslan Salei) at No. 10.

The winner of the Canada/Russia contest will face the winner of the Switzerland/Germany game in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, Finland takes on the Czech Republic, while Sweden will tangle with Denmark.
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