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Canada Gets “Blues Boost” at Hockey Worlds

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Team Canada captain Rick Nash shoots against France. May 1, 2011 (Getty/AFP/Joe Klamar)

Team Canada captain Rick Nash shoots against France. May 1, 2011 (Getty/AFP/Joe Klamar)

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KOSICE, Slovakia (AP) — St. Louis Blues teammates Chris Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo scored goals, Sunday, as Olympic champion Canada routed France 9-1 to advance to the second round of the ice hockey world championship.

Canada, which is 2-0 after a 4-1 victory over Belarus on Friday, faces Switzerland in its last match in Group B on Tuesday.

“We look like we got a team with hunger to score goals,” Canada coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We got better as the game went on.”

Germany and Switzerland recorded their second victories to advance, while Russia collected its first win.

Canada’s Marc-Andre Gragnani opened the scoring 1:02 into the match from a power play on a rebound. Jason Spezza doubled the lead at 6:35 and Jeff Skinner finished the first-period rout at the 12:02 mark.

France fought back and replied through Pierre Edouard Bellemare, who scored midway through the second period on a power play, before Chris Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo netted within 43 seconds for Canada to hold a 5-1 lead.

“When we were leading 3-1, it was tough. But we finally came out and found our game,” Canada captain Rick Nash said. “They’ve played 70 games together, ours was the fourth, it’s quite a difference. I think the team that usually wins the tournament is the team that gets better and better. That’s all what we need to do.”

Bret Burns, Nash, Skinner and Travis Zajac finished the rout with third-period goals.

“The talent and depth of the Canadian team was too much for us today,” France coach Dabid Henderson said.

Russia rebounded from Friday’s opening-day loss to Germany by beating Slovenia 6-4 in Bratislava in a hard-fought win.

Marcel Muller and Felix Schutz both had a goal and assist to lead Germany 4-3 over host Slovakia to the next round.

After upsetting Russia 2-0 on Friday, Germany has six points from two games in Group A. Slovakia is on three and faces Russia in its final group-stage game.

In Kosice, Ryan Gardner scored twice to help Switzerland to a 4-1 win over Belarus and a berth into the second round.

Belarus will fight with France for the third spot from Group B in the next round.

Copyright Associated Press

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