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Michalek Defeated in World Semifinals

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek and the Czech Republic’s quest to defend their title at the 2011 IIHF World Championships ended Friday with their 5-2 loss to Sweden in the tournament semifinals in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The loss was the Czech Republic’s first of the tournament, as they had gone a perfect 6-0 entering Friday’s game – with all six wins coming in regulation to give them the best overall record.

The Czechs will face Russia on Sunday in the bronze medal game, a rematch of last year's final.

Michalek logged 21:19 of ice time in the contest, good for second on the team behind defensive partner Karel Rachunek. Devils forward Patrik Elias scored both Czech Republic goals.

Michalek has recorded one assist through five games, leading the Czech Republic in minutes played for two of those contests.

Penguins forward James Neal and Team Canada were ousted from tournament play on Thursday with their 2-1 quarterfinals loss to Russia.

Neal finished the tournament with five points (2G-3A) in six games, two of those contests being multiple-point efforts and one of those tallies being the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Norway on May 7. Neal was named Canada’s Best Player for that contest.
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