by PuckStopsHere on 05/06/09 at 03:24 AM ET
The World Hockey Championships are underway in Switzerland. Games are being played in Bern and in Kloten. The initial Preliminary Round began with 16 teams that were sorted into four different four team groups. Each group plays a round robin tournament with the top three teams moving forward.
Group A: This group was won by Canada. They were not seriously tested as they outscored opposition 22-4. Martin St Louis and Jason Spezza led Canada’s offence with Shea Weber leading the defence. Dwayne Roloson and Chris Mason split the duties in goal. Second place was taken by Belarus- They were led offensively by Alexei Kaliuzhny and Mikhail Grabovski, with Ruslan Salei leading their defence. Andrei Mezin was the top goalie. Slovakia finished third with a shootout loss to Belarus. Marcel Hossa was their offensive leader with Rastislav Stana leading then in goal. Eliminated was Hungary, who was led offensively by Imre Peterdi and used Levente Szuper as their top goalie.
Group B This group was won conclusively by Russia. Ilya Kovalchuk and Danis Zaripov led their offence with OIeg Tverdovsky leading the defence. Ilya Bryzgalov was their top goalie. Home team Switzerland took second place. Mark Streit led their scoring from defence with help from Martin Pluss. Martin Gerber was their goalie. France was a close third with Luc Tardif leading their scoring and Fabrice L’Henry in goal. Germany was the loser in this group, with no player scoring more than one point and Dmitri Patzold in goal.
Group C This group was won by USA. Patrick O’Sullivan and Dustin Brown led the team offensively, with Jack Johnson leading the defence and Robert Esche in goal. They narrowly defeated Sweden to win this group. Mattias Weinhandl and Tony Martensson lead them offensively. Latvia finished third Martins Karsums and Martins Cipulis led their offence. Edgars Masalskis was their goalie. Austria finished a distant fourth in this group. They scored only two goals and allowed 15.
Group D Finland won this group with Niko Kapanen and Antti Miettinen leading the way. Pekka Rinne and Karri Ramo split the job in goal. The Czech Republic finished second in this group. Petr Cajanek and Jaromir Jagr led the way offensively. Jakub Stepanek and Martin Prusek shared goaltending duties. Norway was the third place finished in this group. Tore Vikingstad led the team offensively, with Pal Grotnes playing most of their goal. Denmark finished last in this group. Morten Green was the only multiple point scorer. Patrick Galbraith was their main goaltender.
With this round complete, teams proceeded to the Qualifying Round. The top three finishers in each group continued on. They were sorted into two different six team groups that played round robins.
Group E Russia went undefeated to win this group. Ilya Kovalchuk is their offensive leader. Viltali Atyushov is leading their defence and Ilya Bryzgalov is in goal. Sweden took second in this group. Linus Omark is leading the way offensively. Magnus Johansson is leading the defence and Jonas Gustavsson is the top goaltender. USA finished third in this group. Patrick O’Sullivan leads the offence and John-Michael Liles has been leading the defence. Robert Esche has been the top goalie. Latvia was next. Aleksandrs Nizivijs and Herberts Vasiljevs led the way offensively and Edgars Masalskis was the goaltender. Switzerland took fifth place. Mark Streit led the way offensively and Martin Gerber manned their nets. Taking up last was France. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was their top scorer in this round. Fabrice L’Henry was their goaltender.
Group F Canada won this group despite an overtime loss to Finland. Martin St Louis led the way offensively and Shea Weber led the defence. Chris Mason was the top goalie. Finland took second place. Niko Kapanen led the way offensively and Pekka Rinne manned the goals. The Czech Republic took third place. Petr Cajanek and Jaromir Jagr led the way offensively. Jakub Stepanek was the top goalie. Belarus took fourth place. Mikhail Grabovski led them offensively, with Ruslan Salei leading the defence and Andrei Mezin as top goaltender. Slovakia was next. Marcel Hossa and Michal Handzus led the way offensively. Jaroslav Halak was their top goaltender. Norway took last in this group. Offensively, it was Mats Zuccarello Aasen who led them in scoring this round. Pal Grotnes was their top goalie.
The top four teams in both of these groups survive to the playoff round. Russia will meet Belarus, Finland will play USA, Canada will play Latvia and Sweden will play the Czech Republic. Those games are still to come.
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