Z worlds update

The Blue Jackets’ season is over, but there was still hockey to be played as nine members of the organization took part in the IIHF World Championships, being held in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia, which ran through Sunday.

Sixteen countries took part in the annual tournament to crown a world champion, with Team USA and Canada both falling short as host Czechia took on Switzerland for the crown.

Five CBJ skaters took part, including three with Team USA in alternate captain Zach Werenski as well as forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Gavin Brindley. Defenseman Damon Severson was on Team Canada, while goalie Elvis Merzlikins represented Latvia.

In addition, CBJ director of player development Rick Nash was the general manager for the Canadian squad for the first time. Also off the ice, the Blue Jackets were well represented on the United States squad by trainer Mike Vogt and equipment managers Jamie Healy and Dustin Halstead.

With each team playing in seven round-robin games, preliminary play at the event concluded Tuesday, with quarterfinals Thursday, semifinals Saturday and the medal games Sunday.

Below are the stats and notes about how CBJ players performed at the event.

Tournament Stats

Werenski (USA): 8 GP, 2-5-7, +7, 25 SOG, 23:41 TOI

Gaudreau (USA): 8 GP, 3-8-11, +8, 22 SOG, 17:29 TOI

Brindley (USA): 5 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 SOG, 8:27 TOI

Severson (Canada): 9 GP, 0-2-2, Even +/-, 17 SOG, 18:18 TOI

Merzlikins (Latvia), 2-1-0, 4 GP, 4.80 GAA, .826 SV%

CBJ Updates

Friday, May 10

Team USA opened up its tournament Friday with a setback, falling to Sweden by a 5-2 score. The good news for Blue Jackets players is both Zach Werenski and Johnny Gaudreau got on the board, Werenski with a goal that cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period and Gaudreau with an assist.

Saturday, May 11

It was a busy day at the Worlds for the CBJ contingent, with the United States posting a 6-1 win over Germany, Canada downing Great Britain by a 4-2 score, and Latvia taking a 5-4 overtime win over Poland.

Johnny Gaudreau was the star of the day for the group, posting a goal and an assist to lead the way. His tally midway through the second period gave the Americans a 3-0 lead in their first win of the tournament.

Severson played in his first game of the tournament for Canada, while Merzlikins got the OT win in net for Latvia.

Sunday, May 12

Team USA was off, while Damon Severson and Elvis Merzlikins emerged victorious in Sunday's action.

Merzlikins got the start for a second straight day in net and turned in a standout performance in Latvia's 3-2 win over France, making 27 saves before the Latvians won in overtime on Kaspars Daugavins' tally. Meanwhile, Severson and Canada eased to a 5-1 win over Denmark to improve to 2-0.

Monday, May 13

The United States was the only team with CBJ players in action, and the Americans staged a furious rally before falling 5-4 to Slovakia in overtime. Third-period goals from Shane Pinto, Brady Tkachuk and Luke Hughes erased a 4-1 deficit before the Slovaks won on Milos Kelemin's deflection. Zach Werenski was plus-2, while Johnny Gaudreau had an assist but also took a hard hit in the third period. He did return.

Tuesday, May 14

Canada and Austria may have played the game of the tournament Tuesday, but it might not have been fun for Damon Severson.

Canada held a 6-1 lead after two periods and then watched the Austrians storm all the way back with five goals in the third to send the game to overtime at 6-6. Thankfully for Canada, John Tavares played the OT hero to give the country the win, while Severson finished without a point for the third straight game.

Latvia also took to the ice for a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan, but Elvis Merzlikins was given the game off with Kristers Gudlevskis taking the cage for the shutout.

Wednesday, May 15

It was a light schedule for CBJ on Wednesday, with only Latvia and Elvis Merzlikins on the schedule. Even Merzlikins was expected to have the day off as Kristers Gudlevskis got the start in net, but he was chased from the game after Germany took a 4-0 lead. Merzlikins didn't fare much better in relief, allowing four goals on 21 shots against in an 8-1 setback.

Thursday, May 16

Both the United States and Canada used strong defensive performances to earn victories, and the Blue Jackets connection on Team USA finally got on the board.

The Americans posted a 5-0 win over France, and the fourth goal of the first period had a CBJ flavor. Zach Werenski made the play, skating the puck through traffic before dishing to Johnny Gaudreau on the right wing for a goal that could very well have happened in Nationwide Arena.

It was a busy game for Gaudreau, who had seven shots on goal. He is tied for Team USA's lead in the tournament with six points through the four games. Gavin Brindley also made his debut for the squad at the Worlds, skating on the fourth line.

Canada also skated to a 4-1 win over Norway, keeping the Norwegians without a shot on goal through 40 minutes and posting a 33-6 edge for the game.

Canada is now on top of Group A, holding an edge on Switzerland via goal differential, while the United States is in third in Group B based on a tiebreaker vs. Latvia.

Friday, May 17

Team USA continued its winning ways, moving into second place in group B with a solid 4-1 win over Poland. None of the CBJ players taking part got on the score sheet, but Brady Tkachuk's four-point game led the Americans to the win, as Team USA scored twice in the second period and twice in the third.

Saturday, May 18

Canada notched its fifth win of the tournament in as many games -- four in regulation, one in overtime -- as the squad took a 5-3 win over Finland on Saturday, with Damon Severson skating 16:21. It was a 3-3 contest between world powers before Canada pulled away with two third-period goals.

On the other side of the coin, Latvia dropped out of medal round position with a 7-2 loss to Sweden. Elvis Merzlikins started and gave up six goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Eriks Vitols.

Sunday, May 19

It was a big day for Team USA, which romped to a 10-1 win over Kazakhstan, It was an even bigger day for Johnny Gaudreau.

The Blue Jackets forward had a goal and four assists, and in the process became the all-time American record holder for assists (29) and points (43) at the tournament.

In addition to that accomplishment, Zach Werenski had three assists, while Gavin Brindley drove home a loose puck for his first-ever Worlds goal at age 19.

Elsewhere, Canada and Damon Severson claimed first place in Group A with a 3-2 win over Switzerland, while Latvia earned a big 3-2 win over Slovakia, but Elvis Merzlikins served as a backup.

Tuesday, May 21

The final day of round-robin play saw the United States and Canada finish strong, while Latvia saw its tournament come to an end as it did not advance out of pool play.

Last year's third-place squad, Latvia needed a win over Team USA to advance out of pool play, but the Americans took an early lead and held on for a 6-3 victory. Zach Werenski was a big part of it, scoring a first-period goal and adding an assist.

On the Latvian side, the squad opted to go with Kristers Gudlevskis in net instead of Elvis Merzlikins, who finished the tournament playing in four of seven games, starting three.

Canada, meanwhile, posted a 4-3 overtime win over Czechia to stay unbeaten and win Pool A, with Damon Severson skating 18:16 and notching his first assist of the tournament.

Moving on to the knockout round, Team USA and Canada will each play Thursday in quarterfinals.

Thursday, May 23

Team USA's tournament ended with an upset loss in the quarterfinals, as Czechia's 1-0 win advanced the country. Pavel Zacha had the lone goal of the game in the second period to keep the United States without a gold medal since 1960. Zach Werenski skated 26:15 and Johnny Gaudreau 22:30 to no avail.

In a matchup on the other side of the bracket, Damon Severson had an assist as Canada posted a 6-3 win over Slovakia to move on to the semifinals Saturday.

Saturday, May 25

Canada's quest to win back-to-back tournaments came to a close with a shootout loss to Switzerland on Saturday. Damon Severson took part and took a shot in the shootout, but he was denied as the Swiss were able to pull away to the win.

Canada was set to play in Sunday's third-place game. Former CBJ players in the gold medal matchup between Czechia and Switzerland include Czech center Lukas Sedlak and Swiss players Calvin Thurkauf and Dean Kukan.

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