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IIHF World Championship update: six Blackhawks through to quarterfinals

by Emerald Gao and Leah Hendrickson / Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith continued to be an offensive force on Team Canada's blue line, adding two assists in a 5-1 victory over Belarus.

All six Blackhawks representatives remain in the hunt for a World Championship medal at the conclusion of preliminary-round action this morning, with Sweden having already secured the second spot in their division. Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp both contributed to Canada's 5-1 win over Belarus, clinching the top seed in the Helsinki group, while Michael Frolik played in the Czech Republic's 8-1 demolition of Germany that secured third place in the Stockholm bracket.

Duncan Keith registered two assists while skating a team-high 20:39; he landed on the scoresheet just 2:16 into the game with a helper on Ryan O’Reilly’s first goal of the tournament. Sergei Kostitsyn replied for Belarus, potting the equalizer late in the period.

Corey Perry capitalized on the man advantage midway through the second period, tallying the go-ahead goal, and  Ryan Getzlaf put away a dish from Evander Kane just a few minutes later. After Belarus forward Andrei Kostitsyn was ejected for a hit on Kane from behind, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on the five-minute major to give Canada a 4-1 lead.

O’Reilly scored his second goal of the game at 8:41 of the third period, putting away the win for Team Canada. Defensemen Luke Schenn and Marc Methot were ejected from the game late in the third period for separate questionable hits, and play was chippy overall, with Canada racking up 58 penalty minutes and Belarus logging 45 minutes.

Patrick Sharp recorded an assist and had five shots on goal in 15:10 of ice time and how has seven points (1G, 6A) in seven games so far. His average ice time of 17:08 per game is tops among Canadian forwards. Keith's two assists brought his total to 11 points (1G, 10A) in his first seven appearances, pacing Team Canada. He also leads the roster with a +9 plus/minus rating and an average ice time of 22:04 per game, more than two minutes more than the next closest skater (Dion Phaneuf).

The Czech Republic scored less than two minutes into their 8-1 win over Germany and never looked back, outshooting their opponents 39-18 in the game and racking up their largest margin of victory thus far in the tournament. The Czechs were especially lethal on the power play, converting four of seven opportunites with the man advantage, and David Krejci added a shorthanded tally in the second period.

Frolik, playing alongside Krejci and Petr Tenkrat, registered three shots on net but was held without a point in 13:14 of ice time. Though the first seven games, he has two points (1G, 1A) and an even rating while skating an average of 13:30 per game.

Canada's win secured the top spot in the Helsinki pool and will face Slovakia, the fourth-placed team from the Helsinki bracket, on May 17. Sweden and the Czech Republic will meet that same day as the second and third seeds in the Stockholm group, respectively.

[UPDATE] 3:32 p.m.—Team Sweden concluded the preliminary round with an easy 4-0 win over Latvia. Loui Eriksson, Jakob Silfverberg, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen dented the net the hosts, and goaltender VIktor Fasth saved all 22 shots he saw.

Viktor Stalberg recorded six shots on goal, but was held without a point in 13:09 of ice time, while Marcus Kruger logged 11:57 and won 10 of 13 faceoffs. Stalberg finished with four points (3G, 1A) and a +4 rating in seven games in the preliminary round; Kruger had five points (3G, 2A) and a +3 rating in seven appearances.

On the blue line, Niklas Hjalmarsson played 19:56, second only to defensive partner Karlsson, and took five shots on goal. In seven games, he registered three assists and averaged 19:11 of ice time per game.

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