Russia has won all 10 of their matches in the world hockey championship, bringing home gold for the third time in the last five years. The Czech Republic managed to win bronze for the second year straight.
Russia defeated Slovakia 6-2 in Helsinki on Sunday to become the world ice hockey champions, the third time they have won the title in the last five years.
Slovakia, which won the world championship in 2002, came on strong as the match opened, with Boston Bruins rear guard Zdeno Chara firing home a slap shot just 1:06 into play.
But Russia quickly stepped up their game, coming back nine minutes later to level the score through the Washington Capitals right winger Alexander Semin. In the second period, they put their offense into overdrive, netting three goals through right winger Alexander Perezhogin, center Alexei Tereshenko and again Semin for a 4-1 lead.
"We were planning to play tight in defense, keeping our net clean as long as possible, forcing Russia to become nervous," said Slovakia's center Jurai Mikus.
"It worked well in the first period as we finished it 1-1 but we made too many errors in the second allowing them to make it 4-1. With this score against Russia you have almost no chance."
Russia takes gold
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk then scored on Semin's pass in the third period to put Russia up 5-1. Although Chara managed net another goal for Slovakia, NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin sealed Russia's 6-2 victory at 18:02 of the final frame.
Russia managed to win all 10 of their matches during the event, the first team to do so since the Soviets in 1989.
"Every one of my gold medals was really hard to win," said Russia's skipper Ilya Nikulin, who won his third word title on Sunday. "And this year is not an exception."
"We won all our matches here but it was much harder to win every encounter than someone can imagine looking at the score lines," Nikulin said.
Czechs win bronze
The Czech Republic took home the bronze on Sunday for the second consecutive year, defeating Finland 3-2.
The Czechs opened the scoring at 12:17 of the first, when Jakub Krejcik's shot struck teammate Petr Prucha in the leg and went into the net. Although center Mika Pyorala managed to equalize for Finland shortly thereafter, Czech forwards Jiri Novotny and David Krejci each scored before the first intermission to put their side ahead 3-1.
After a goalless second period, Carolina Hurricanes winger Jussi Jokinen managed to narrow the gap and score for Finland at 9:01 of the third. But Finland didn't manage to force overtime with another goal, allowing the Czechs to go home victorious.
"We were very disappointed after we failed to make it to the final as we all believed we could do that," Czech head coach Alois Hadamszik said. "But I'm really proud of my players. They worked hard throughout the game and, I think, won the game deservedly."
slk/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters)