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Mrazek helps keep game scoreless

by Mike G. Morreale
CALGARY -- Czech Republic goalie Petr Mrazek was up to his old tricks in the first period of his team's quarterfinal-round match in the 2012 World Junior Championship against the favored Russian National Junior on Monday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Mrazek turned aside 16 shots and survived a pair of breakaway attempts by captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov to help his team escape with a 0-0 deadlock after 20 minutes. The winner of the contest will meet Team Canada in the tournament semifinals scheduled Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Mrazek, property of the Detroit Red Wings, has yielded just 11 goals on 148 shots in the tournament. He enters Monday's game sporting an impressive 2.75 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
Kuznetsov broke free with 8:40 remaining in the first but was denied by Mrazek's blocker before being sent in alone less than two minutes later only to have his backhand attempt from in tight skid across the crease with the goalie spread eagle in the paint.
The Russians were given the only power-play of the period at the 5:30 mark when Jiri Riha was whistled for slashing, but the Czechs survived unscathed. Russia's Nail Yakupov, who could be selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 Draft, had a good opportunity turned away by Mrazek with less than 15 seconds remaining in the period.

Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski made five saves in the first.
Returning to the lineup for Russia following a one-game absence was Mikhail Grigorenko, who suffered an ankle injury on Thursday when he collided with Latvian defender Arturs Salija in the early stages of the second period of an eventual 14-0 victory. The 2012 Draft-eligible forward entered the game having scored 2 goals and 4 points in three games for his country.

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