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Neal, Michalek Wrap Up Qualifying Round Action Monday

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek helped the Czech Republic clinch the top spot in Group E with a 3-2 victory over Russia in 2011 IIHF World Championships qualifying-round action on Sunday in Kosice, Slovakia.

Michalek logged 19:07 of ice time and recorded two shots on goal in the contest, a rematch of last year’s dramatic title game. In that contest, the Czech Republic defeated Russia 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 Scores Game-Winning Goal to Power Canada Past Norway >>

With Sunday’s win, the defending champion Czechs have improved to a perfect 4-0 in tournament play. All four of their victories have come in regulation, giving them a tournament-leading 12 points.

The Czech Republic will wrap up qualifying round action on Monday against Germany.

Penguins forward James Neal and Team Canada will battle Sweden on Monday to wrap up qualifying round action. The game will determine seeding for the quarterfinals, as the two teams are currently tied for the top spot in Group F with 10 points each. Canada has two regulation wins, two overtime wins and zero losses while Sweden has three regulation wins and a regulation loss.

RELATED: Neal, Michalek Help Teams Keep Undefeated Records >>

Neal scored the game-winning goal, added an assist and recorded five shots on goal to power Canada past Norway, 3-2, on Saturday.

Neal tallied his first goal of the tournament just under halfway through the third period to put the Canadians up 3-0 over the Norwegians. Neal’s marker which would prove to be crucial, as Norway battled back to cut their deficit to one by scoring two goals 1:13 apart in the second half of the third period.
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