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Winterhawks at the Worlds: Checking in on the IIHF Men's World Championships

May 24, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Portland Winterhawks News Release

The 2022 IIHF Men's World Ice Hockey Championships are in full swing, and we're keeping a keen eye on some familiar faces leading the way for their respective nations.

Led by Americans Seth Jones and Kieffer Bellows, there are six former Winterhawks representing four different countries currently playing in the Worlds.

Seth Jones (2012-13) - United States

Jones continues to set the pace for Team USA, notching a goal and three helpers to share the scoring lead among defensemen while serving as the team's captain for this tournament. Jones earned Player of the Game honors for his team with a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Latvia.

Jones' brother Caleb - another Portland alum - was set to star at the World Championships as well, but withdrew due to injury.

Kieffer Bellows (2017-18) - United States

Bellows has shone for the U.S. in the tournament, notching a team-high three goals, which ranks tied for 12th among all skaters in the competition. The former Winterhawk also ranks second among American forwards with four points in Tampere, and was named Player of the Game for the U.S. with two goals in a 3-0 shutout of Great Britain.

Joachim Blichfeld (2016-19) - Denmark

Like Bellows, Blichfeld has been finding twine with regularity at the Worlds. His four goals rank tied for third among all skaters in the tournament behind NHLers Rasmus Asplund and Nico Hischier, and his five points are fifth among Danish skaters. Blichfeld opened the tournament on a tear, tallying a hat-trick against Kazhakstan in the opening game to earn Denmark's Player of the Game award.

Marcel Noebels (2011-12) - Germany

Noebels' consistency has been impressive throughout the tournament, having notched an assist in every game minus the opening tilt against Canada. His five points rank tied for third among German skaters, and he continues to wear an "A" as one of his country's alternate captains.

Rodrigo Abols (2015-17) - Latvia

Abols has logged a pair of points thus far, scoring once and setting up another while serving as Latvia's captain after wearing an "A" during the Olympics in February. Abols has now played 10 games for Latvia in 2022, notching four goals and two helpers as one of the team's core leaders.

Rihards Bukarts (2015-16) - Latvia

Bukarts boasts a team-high five points thus far, scoring twice and posting three helpers as one of Latvia's most dangerous forwards. His starring performance came against Austria, where he tallied a goal and an assist to earn Player of the Game honors for his team.

Each of these players will be in action for one more preliminary round game today, with the quarterfinals set to begin on Thursday.

As it stands, Jones and Bellows' USA and Abols and Bukarts' Latvia are neck-and-neck for the fourth and final quarterfinal position in Group B, while Noebels' Germany and Blichfeld's Denmark hold down the second and third spots, respectively, in Group A with Canada close behind in fourth place.

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