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Worlds: Stempniak Scores Twice in Rout of Belarus

by Staff Writer / St. Louis Blues
MYTISCHI, Russia (AP) — Lee Stempniak scored twice to lead the United States to a 5-1 victory over Belarus on Sunday that put it in the second round of the hockey world championships along with the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia.

The Czechs got two goals and an assist from Jaroslav Hlinka in a 6-1 victory over Austria, defenseman Petteri Nummelin netted two power-play goals in Finland's 6-2 win over Denmark, and Alexei Morozov's hat trick and two assists led Russia past Ukraine 8-1.

The Americans and Czechs are 2-0 in Group B, and Finland and Russia are 2-0 in Group D.

The Americans were 3-0 up by the end of the first period, with scores from defenseman Jack Johnson and forwards Stempniak and Chad Larose.

Chris Clark added a fourth U.S. goal 4:30 into the second period, and Stempniak added the fifth — on a two-man advantage — for his third goal in two games.

Belarus captain Oleg Antonenko ruined John Grahame's shutout bid, deking defenseman Brian Pothier to flick the puck in over Grahame's shoulder.

"We wanted to give John the shutout so it's a pity," Clark said. "That will be tougher against the Czechs."

The Americans and the Czechs play Tuesday.

Peter Sykora and Hlinka scored in the first period for the Czechs, and Petr Caslava scored on a power play at 10:02 into the second.

Raimund Divis ruined Roman Cechmanek's shutout bid at 17:08.

In the final period, Michal Barinka, Hlinka, and Jan Marek had goals for the Czech Republic.

Finland will face a much bigger test Tuesday when it plays Russia.

"Russia will be a big challenge for us," captain Ville Peltonen said. "They have a lot of skilled players and it will take a complete effort. The first two games have been pretty one-sided so this will be a good test for us."

Ukraine defender Sergii Klymentiev opened the scoring just 4 minutes into its game against Russia when his slap shot went through the legs of goalie Alexander Eremenko.

But Russia scored two power-play goals in a three-minute span to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission and cruised from there.

Russia is bidding for its first world title since 1993 and has 17 goals in two preliminary round games.

"It was a great game for us," Morozov said. "We have a lot of talented players on this team and all our lines are scoring right now."

Austria (0-2) and Belarus (0-2) will be in a must-win situation Tuesday. The loser will play the relegation round in an attempt to avoid dropping out of world hockey's elite group.
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