Mon, May 12, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Slovakia takes down the Czech Republic

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Peter Bondra, a Washington Capitals forward knocked in the tie-breaking goal and Miroslav Satan of the Sabres set up an insurance score

AP , HELSINKI, FINLAND

The Slovakian team pose with their bronze medals after the victory over Czech Republic at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki, Finland on Saturday. Slovakia won the match 4-2. Canada will play Sweden in the finals.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Peter Bondra broke a 2-2 tie early in the second period and Pavol Demitra scored an insurance goal with 2:29 left as Slovakia held off the Czech Republic 4-2 Saturday in the bronze-medal game at the World Hockey Championships.

Bondra, a Washington Capitals forward who notched the game-winner last year when Slovakia won its first ever world title in Sweden, beat goalie Tomas Vokoun of the Nashville Predators with a slap shot after breaking away all alone at 5:20 into the period.

Demitra, the St. Louis Blues' top scorer during the NHL regular season, set up the goal that gave the Slovakia its third lead in a see-saw game before 13,324 fans at soldout Hartwall Areena.

Miroslav Satan of the Buffalo Sabres set up Demitra's goal with a nice pass from the left flank. Unmarked in front, Demitra sent the puck between Vokoun's legs.

Ziggy Palffy, the Los Angeles Kings' top scorer this season, went pointless and finished with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points and tied with linemate Jozef Stumpel atop the tournament's scoring race.

Stumpel, who scored the Slovaks' second goal on the power play in the opening period, had four goals and 11 assists. The Boston Bruins' center played on the tournament's highest-scoring line with Bondra and Palffy.

"It was a very difficult game ... both teams lost yesterday [in the semifinals]," Slovakia head coach Frantisek Hossa said. "I'm very happy that we kept our discipline and some of our top scorers again showed their ability to score goals."

Satan put Slovakia ahead at 13:18 with the first of four straight power-play goals. Jan Hlavac of the Carolina Hurricanes tied it less than three minutes later.

Robert Reichel of the Toronto Maple Leafs also scored for the Czechs, making it 2-2 just 37 seconds into the second period.

For the Czechs, it was another disappointing finish. They had a stranglehold on just about every major international title from 1998 to 2001, capturing gold medals at the Nagano Olympics and three consecutive world championships.

But that all ended last year when the Czechs failed to medal at either the Olympics in Salt Lake City or the worlds in Goteborg, Sweden.

"We were really disappointed losing to Canada," said Czech coach Slavomir Lener, whose team rallied from 3-0 down to 3-3 only to lose the semifinal 8-4 Friday.

"We played two even games in the tournament. Slovakia has so much offensive power and deserved the win today."

Slovakia, which tied the Czechs 3-3 in qualification-round action Monday, lost its semifinal to Sweden 4-1.

Canada and Sweden meet Sunday in the final.

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