Day one of the men's hockey tournament is in the books in Sochi, Russia. The four active Blackhawks representatives were held scoreless during their first contest, but Sweden, including Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya, emerged victorious against Michal Rozsival's Czech Republic in their first Group C matchup.
Team Sweden, behind two goals from Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, tallied four times in the first 24:07, while Henrik Lundqvist's 27 saves sealed the Swede's 4-2 win. Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted on Sweden's first two goals.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (SWE): The Blackhawks' sturdy defenseman saw 18:16 of ice time in Sweden's first contest while mainly skating with his Blackhawks defensive partner Johnny Oduya. Hjalmarsson had an even plus/minus rating for the game - he was on the ice for Henrik Zetterberg's goal in the second period, but was also on the ice when Czech defenseman Marek Zidlicky tallied in the third - and recorded one shot on goal.
Johnny Oduya (SWE): Oduya skated for 17:28 in Sweden's win, racking up one shot on net while also skating to an even plus/minus. Both he and Hjalmarsson were part of the Sweden penalty kill unit that stopped all four of the Czech Republic's chances, including two in the third period.
Marcus Kruger (SWE): The 23-year-old Stockholm native centered a checking line with New York's Carl Hagelin and Skellefteå AIK's Jimmie Ericcson, but like his Blackhawks teammates was held off the score sheet in 10:14 of ice time. Kruger won five of seven faceoffs, and racked up a hooking penalty in the third period.
Michal Rozsival (CZE): Wednesday marked a tough game for the entire Czech team, Rozsival included: he was on the ice for two of Sweden's first three goals, a minus-two rating for the game in 19:16 of ice time. Paired with former NHLer Tomas Kaberle, the veteran blueliner had two shots on goal in the loss.
Other Day 1 notes: Switzerland edged Latvia, 1-0, as Nashville Predators prospect Simon Moser scored with just 7.9 seconds left in regulation.
Day 2 Schedule (Thu., Feb. 13)
Finland vs. Austria - 2 a.m. CT
No Blackhawks skaters
Slovenia vs. Russia - 6:30 a.m. CT
No Blackhawks skaters
Slovakia vs. United States - 6:30 a.m. CT
Canada vs. Norway - 11 a.m. CT
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