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2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship: The Semi Finals Begin

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The 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships are nearing its end as the Quarter finals wrapped up yesterday and the tournament now moves to the Semi finals with two games on Friday. With eight teams entering the Quarter final round, four teams have been eliminated and sent home. With four teams left to battle it out for gold and world hockey supremacy, the tournament has the best of the best left for you to enjoy.

The Quarter final round separated the pretenders from the contenders as major hockey powers were sent home early. Team USA were completely embarrassed by the reigning champs, the Czech Republic as they smoked them 4-0. Leading the way for the Czech was Jaromir Jagr with a hat trick as the old buck proved that he still got it. With the win, the Czech get a little closer to repeating as gold medalists.

Sweden had a tussle with Germany in another Quarter final battle as the Swedes looked to reassert themselves on the international hockey stage. With Germany upsetting the powerhouse Russia on the opening day of the tournament, the Germans looked to step up to the next level in the hockey world. But with a 5-2 beating, the Swedes proved that Germany has not reached that next level just yet. Sweden will next take on the Czech Republic in the Semi-final round with the winner earning a chance to play for gold.

Finland looked to punch their ticket to the Semi’s with a win against a feisty Team Norway. With Norway knocking off Sweden in the preliminary round, and giving Canada all they could handle, Norway looked to surprise Finland and book their seat in the Semi’s to prove the doubter’s wrong. With Norway getting on the board first, all was going as planned. But this game was not meant to be for team Norway as they were handled easily by Finland as they responded with four unanswered goals to win the game 4-1 and book their seat into the Semi’s.

With the biggest match-up of the Quarter finals being Team Canada versus Team Russia, the true winners of this game would be the rest of the countries left in the tournament as one of these superpowers were going home early. With Canada trying to avenge their embarrassing seventh place finish from last year’s tournament, Russia looked to knock off Canada for the second straight year. This game was a close battle as the two teams battled to a tie after the first period. In the second period, on a great play by Jason Spezza, he put Canada up 1-0 on a sweet break-a-way goal.

Looking to close out the game holding a 1-0 lead, Canada played the third period tight defensively. With ten minutes to go in the period, Canada turned over the puck on a powerplay and gave up a short handed goal as former Sens prospect and Russian baby, Alexei Kaigorodov, notched his first of the tournament. With the game tied at one and the time running down, sniper Ilya Kovalchuk picked a great time to snap his goalless streak and put the Russians ahead by one. Throwing everything they had at the Russian goal, Canada could not get the tying goal and were beat 2-1 and sent home without the gold for the fourth consecutive year.

The Semi’s will see Sweden trying to knock off the reigning champs, the Czech Republic, and will have a battle between Russia and Finland. With Sweden icing a young squad, can they knock off the more experienced veteran Czech team? Can Sweden’s toast of the tournament goalie Viktor Fasth upstage the reigning champs? And with Russia preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics, can they return to the gold medal game after losing in last year’s game?

Here is the schedule for the Semi Final Round:

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2011

TeamsNotes
SwedenvsCzech Republic10:15 AM
FinlandvsRussia2:15 PM

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011

MEDAL ROUND

Teams

Notes

Bronze:

TBDvsTBD10:00 AM

Gold:

TBDvsTBD2:30 PM

The Quarter final round saw your Ottawa Senators representatives get slashed in half as Team Canada and Team USA were eliminated from the tournament. Ryan Shannon ended his tournament with one goal and four points in seven games. To add a feather to Shannon’s cap, he was named as one of the three best Team USA’s players at this year’s tournament (somebody please give this man a contract!!). Jason Spezza also saw his quest for goal ended with Canada’s loss to Russia. Spezza ended the tournament with four goals and seven points in seven games. Spezza earned the trust of the coaching staff as was evident by his promotion to the first line half way through the tournament. Spezza will now begin his summer as he will need to get stronger in order to not get injured in this upcoming season.

Moving on in the tournament is Senator Milan Michalek and Sens’ Swedish prospects, Jakob Silfverberg and David Rundblad. Michalek has three goals and four points in six games for the Czech Republic as he will look to repeat as gold medalists. Silfverberg continued his strong two-way play and Rundblad notched his first point of the tournament. With Sweden and the Czech Republic playing each other in the Semi finals, Ottawa is guarantee at least one representative in the gold medal game this year.

Enjoy the Semi Final Round and some great international puck.

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