All nine Blackhawks-affiliated players at the 2021 IIHF World Championship have made it to the quarterfinal round. Through seven preliminary round games, the U.S., Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany and Canada all finished in the top four spots in their groups to advance to the knockout stage beginning on Thursday.
Dominik Kubalik (3G, 3A) and Lukas Reichel (2G, 4A) led the way for the Chicago contingent through the opening 12 days of action, a group rounded out by Philipp Kurashev (1G, 3A), Nikita Zadorov (3A), Brandon Hagel (7 GP), Nicolas Beaudin (1A), Brandon Pirri (2G), Maxim Shalunov (1G) and Drew Commesso.
FIVE TO FEATURE AS RUSSIA FACES CANADA
The most Blackhawk-centric quarterfinal matchup will take place as Russia and Canada square off on Thursday (12:15 p.m. CT). Zadorov and Shalunov will go head-to-head with the Canadian trio of Hagel, Beaudin and Pirri for a spot in the semifinals.
Russia finished atop Group A with 17 points (5-2-0-0), second only to the U.S. side for the best record in preliminary round. Canada rebounded from an opening three losses in the tournament with three straight wins and a shootout loss in Tuesday's finale to finish as the fourth and final qualifier from Group B with a 3-3-0-1 record.
Pirri (2G), Beaudin (1A) and Hagel played in all seven group stage games for the Canadians, as did Zadorov (3A) for the Russians. Shalunov was held out of one game for Russia, but scored his first of the tournament in his return to the lineup for Tuesday's finale, a 6-0 win over Belarus.
REICHEL, KURASHEV MEET IN QUARTERS
A pair of dynamic Blackhawks forwards will meet in the quarterfinal stage as offensive juggernauts Germany and Switzerland square off on Thursday (8:15 a.m. CT).
Reichel is tied for second in scoring for Germany on the tournament with six points (2G, 4A) in as many games. Kurashev had four points (1G, 3A) in seven appearances for Switzerland. The Swiss finished the group stage tied for second in scoring with 27 tallies in seven outings, while the Germans finished fourth with 22 goals in their seven skates.
KUBALIK LEADS CZECHS INTO KNOCKOUT STAGE
Kubalik and the Czech Republic will face Finland in the quarters on Thursday (12:15 p.m. CT), bouncing back from an 0-2-0-0 start to the tournament with wins in five straight (2 regulation, 2 OT) to finish third in Group A and tied for second in tournament goal scoring (27 goals).
The Blackhawks forward led all Czech skaters with six points (3G, 3A) during the qualifying round in six games. With a quarterfinal bid locked up already, the Czechs rested most of their top players, including Kubalik, on Tuesday in a 7-3 win over Slovakia.
COMMESSO SERVES BACKUP ROLE FOR U.S.
After joining the team in the middle of the group stage, netminder Drew Commesso made the active roster for the first time in Team USA's group finale against Italy on Tuesday. With Cal Petersen getting the day off, Chicago's second-round pick from a year ago served as backup to Jake Oettinger as the U.S. topped Italy, 4-2.
The Americans finished as the top group stage team with 18 points and will face Slovakia in their quarterfinal matchup on Thursday (8:15 a.m. CT).
Commesso was called to the U.S. roster as the third netminder after Anthony Stolarz was injured early in the tournament. Petersen and Oettinger have split duties in goal, each earning three wins in the group stage.
GAMES JUNE 3
- SUI vs. GER - 8:15 a.m. CT
- USA vs. SVK - 8:15 a.m. CT
- CZE vs. FIN - 12:15 p.m. CT
- RUS vs. CAN - 12:15 p.m. CT
BLACKHAWKS GROUP STAGE STATS
- Dominik Kubalik (CZE): 6 GP, 3G, 3A
- Philipp Kurashev (SUI): 7 GP, 1G, 3A
- Brandon Hagel (CAN): 7 GP
- Brandon Pirri (CAN): 7 GP, 2G
- Nicolas Beaudin (CAN): 7 GP, 1A
- Nikita Zadorov (RUS): 7 GP, 3A
- Maxim Shalunov (RUS): 6 GP, 1G
- Drew Commesso (USA): 0 GP