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Neal, Michalek Help Teams Keep Undefeated Records

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins forward James Neal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek helped their respective national teams to wins on Friday at the 2011 IIHF World Championships in Kosice, Slovakia.

Neal once again led all Canadian forwards in ice time with 17:26 minutes as Canada earned a 4-3 shootout victory over the United States. He finished with four shots on goal while skating on a line with captain Rick Nash of Columbus and Matt Duchene of Colorado.

RELATED: Neal, Michalek Help Teams to Undefeated Preliminary Round Records >>

Michalek helped the Czech Republic kick off qualifying round action with a 3-2 win over host Slovakia. The Czechs have earned a perfect 4-0 record, the best in the tournament as all four of their wins have come in regulation.

Michalek skated for a team-high 22:09 minutes in the victory (which was good for second-most among all skaters), recording two shots in the contest while paired with Karel Rachunek, who plays in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Next up for Neal and the Canadians is Norway on Saturday, while Michalek and the Czechs will battle Russia on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s dramatic championship game. In the 2010 IIHF World Championships, the Czech Republic defeated Russia in by a score of 2-1 to earn their first title in more than five years and end a 27-game Russian winning streak.

RELATED: Neal, Michalek Shine at World Championships >>
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