by PuckStopsHere on 05/20/14 at 11:35 PM ET
The World Hockey Championships preliminary round ended earlier today. This tournament is being played in Minsk, Belarus this year. It is a misnamed tournament in that it occurs during the Stanley Cup playoffs and many of the best players in the world are unavailable. It is held at the end of the European league seasons.
The teams are split into two eight team preliminary round groups. Each group plays a round robin with the top four finishers moving on to the quarterfinals. Group A games were played in the Chizhovka Arena and Group B games in the Minsk Arena.
Here are the preliminary round results:
1. Canada. Canada led this group with six wins (one requiring overtime against Sweden) and a loss in a shootout to France. Their offence has been led by Joel Ward and Cody Hodgson, Ryan Ellis led their defence and James Reimer has been their top goalie.
2. Sweden. The Swedes also have a six and one record. Their loss came against Canada in overtime. Their win over the Czech Republic required a shootout. They fall to second because Canada won their common game. Joakim Lindstrom and Linus Klassen led their offence, Magnus Nygren led their defence and Anders Nilsson did most of their goaltending.
3. Czech Republic. The Czechs posted a 4-3 record with four games going beyond regulation (wins against Slovakia and France and losses against Sweden and Denmark). Jaromir Jagr and Vladimir Sobotka led their offence, Ondrej Nemec led their defence and Alexander Salak was their goaltender.
4. France. The surprising French also posted a 4-3 record with three games going beyond regulation (wins against Canada and Norway and a loss against the Czechs). They fall to fourth with fewer overtime losses than the Czechs. Antoine Roussel, Stephane Da Costa and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare led their offence. Cristobal Huet was their top goaltender.
5. Slovakia. The Slovaks were the top team in this group that failed to make the quarterfinals. They posted a 3-4 record with one overtime loss against the Slovaks. Michel Miklik and Tomas Tatar led their offence, Marek Daloga led their defence and Jan Laco was their top goaltender.
6. Norway. The Norwegians posted a 2-5 record with one loss in overtime against France. Mathis and Ken Andre Olimb and Morten Ask led their offence. Lars Haugen was their top goaltender.
7. Denmark. The Danes posted a 2-5 record with one win against the Czechs in overtime. Kim Staal, Jannik Hansen and Mikkel Boedker led their offence. Simon Neilsen was their top goalie.
8. Italy. The Italians posted a 1-6 record with their only win against France. Giulio Scandela led their offence and Trevor Johnson led their defence. Daniel Bellissimo was their goaltender.
1. Russia. The Russians have been the most dominant team so far. They won all seven of their games in regulation. Viktor Tikhonov has been the top scorer in the preliminary round with 14 points. Sergei Plotnikov was also dominant offensively, Anton Belov led their defence and Sergei Bobrovsky has been their top goaltender.
2. USA. The Americans posted a 5-2 record with losses against Russia and Latvia and overtime required to beat Kazakhstan. Johnny Gaudreau and Craig Smith led their offence, with a strong performance from Seth Jones on defence and Tim Thomas playing in goal.
3. Belarus. The host nation had a strong 4-3 showing. Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn led their offence, Dmitri Korobov led their defence and Kevin Lalande was their top goaltender.
4. Finland. The Finns also posted a 4-3 record with one win against Switzerland requiring a shootout. This placed them fourth. Petri Kontiola and Olli Jokinen led their offence, Tuukka Mantyla led their defence and Pekka Rinne was their goaltender.
5. Switzerland. The Swiss were the top team in this group that misses the playoffs. They posted a 3-4 record with one loss against Finland in a shootout. Defenceman Roman Josi led them in scoring, Damien Brunner and Dennis Hollenstein contributed from forward and Reto Berra was their goaltender.
6. Latvia. The Latvians posted a 3-4 record with all games ending in regulation. Mikelis Redlihs and Kaspars Daugavins led their offence, Arturs Kulka led their defence and Kristers Gudlevskis was their top goaltender.
7. Germany. The Germans posted a 2-5 record. The required extra time to beat Kazakhstan. Thomas Oppenheimer, Kai Hospelt and Leon Draisaitl led their offence. Rob Zepp was their top goaltender.
8. Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs failed to win any games but went beyond regulatin twice against USA and Germany. Defenceman Kevin Dallman led them in points, Nikolai Antropov and Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev were their top forwards and Alexei Ivanov was the goaltender who played the most for them.
The playoffs in the tournament will happen on Thursday with Canada meeting Finland, Sweden meeting Belarus, the Czech Republic meeting USA and France meeting Russia. The semi-finals will be played Saturday and the medal round games Sunday.
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