Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Canada defeats Russia to reach final

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP The Czech Republic needed an overtime goal to overcome Sweden 3-2 in the other semifinal. The Canadians and Czechs will face off today

AP , VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Team Canada' Sheldon Souray, left, scores on Team Russia's Maxim Sokolov during semifinal action at the World Championship in Innsbruck, Austria on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Canada nearly blew a four-goal lead midway through the game before hanging on to beat Russia 4-3 Saturday and reach its third straight final at the ice hockey World Championship.

In the other semifinal, the Czech Republic needed an overtime goal by Radek Dvorak to edge Sweden 3-2.

"We didn't expect Sweden to be so good ... we were lucky on Thursday [against the US] and we were lucky again tonight," said Czech Republic coach Vladimir Ruzicka, whose team eliminated the Americans in a shootout in the quarterfinals.

Dvorak roofed a wrister past Sweden goalie Henrik Lundqvist 4:43 into the 10-minute overtime session, ending a long goalscoring drought for the Czech forward. He scored his last goal in the worlds in 2001.

"Dvorak disappeared behind the defenseman and I saw the puck too late," said Lundqvist, who could be heading to the New York Rangers in the fall if there's an NHL season. "I knew it was a goal. Of course it's disappointing because we played a good game."

Wade Redden, Sheldon Souray, Dany Heatley and Ed Jovanovski scored for two-time defending champion Canada, which will meet the Czech Republic in Sunday's final.

"Every year is different, but this year is special," said Heatley, a key forward on Canada's last two championship teams. "It's a new team. We grew together and it's good to be there again. Our goal from day one was to have a chance to win and now we have that chance."

Daniel Sedin forced overtime in the late game, lifting the puck over Czech Republic goalie Tomas Vokoun at 12:03 in the third period with the Swedes on the power play. His twin brother Henrik, who also played for the Vancouver Canucks before the NHL lockout, set up the goal with a pass from behind the net.

Martin Straka scored a bizarre goal to give the Czechs a 2-1 lead five minutes into the third period. Vaclav Prospal shot from the point, Swede Henrik Zetterberg's stick was broken and the puck took a funny bounce before Straka deflected it in the air past Lundqvist.

Jonas Hoglund gave Sweden, the 2003 and '04 runner-up, a 1-0 lead at 11:39 in the first period. Petr Cajanek tied it at 15:03 with a slapshot from the left circle.

Sunday's final will be a repeat of the 1996 championship game in Vienna, when the Czech Republic beat Canada to win its first of four world titles.

"Canada has a great team and they've put up good offensive numbers," said Czech forward Vaclav Prospal of facing Canada. "Obviously in the final you don't expect to get a team that's easy to beat. We just have to come with our best game and hopefully it will be enough to beat them."

Martin Brodeur had another big game in goal for Canada, making 39 saves as Russia outshot Canada 42-25.

"Marty was unbelievable for us right til the end," said Kris Draper, one of the NHL's best defensive forwards. "Our last man in defense is the heart of our hockey team and was huge for us."

Russia, which lost its first game in the tournament, will play Sweden for the bronze medal today.

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