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Michalek Advances to World Semifinals

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek and the Czech Republic have earned a date with Sweden in the 2011 IIHF World Championships semifinals.

The undefeated Czech Republic continued their quest to defend their tournament championship by blanking the United States, 4-0, on Wednesday in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Michalek finished with a plus-1 rating through 20:14 minutes of ice time in the victory. This will be the second time in his four tournament appearances that Michalek will advance to the medal round with his national team, as the 28-year-old blueliner scored three goals in nine games en route to earning a silver medal with the Czech Republic in 2006.

Former Penguin Jaromir Jagr netted a hat trick in the win, with Montreal's Tomas Plekanec rounding out the scoring. Atlanta's Ondrej Pavelec earned the shutout between the pipes.

The remaining two quarterfinals games will take place Thursday, with Penguins forward James Neal and Canada facing off with Russia while Finland will take on Norway.

Neal will be looking to continue his strong play on Thursday, as the 23-year-old forward has five points (2G-3A) through five games.
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