Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Russia rallies to beat Canada 5-4 for Worlds gold

AFP , QUEBEC CITY, CANADA

Russia snapped a 15-year gold-medal drought on Sunday, rallying to dethrone Canada 5-4 in the final of the World Ice Hockey Championships on Sunday.

With the win, Russia captures its first gold since 1993 and extends its winning streak at the worlds to nine-straight games.

“We have a great team with great players and we believed in each other,” defenseman Andrei Markov said.

Finland beat Sweden 4-0 on Saturday to win the bronze medal to go with a silver they captured last year.

Canada picked up the silver Sunday and suffered its first loss at the worlds since the bronze medal game in 2006 to Finland.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the winner on the powerplay with 2:42 gone in the overtime, firing a wrist shot from 25 feet out that beat Canadian goalie Cam Ward in front of a crowd of 13,339 at the Colisee arena.

Kovalchuk, who just returned from a suspension, also scored the game-tying goal with just over five minutes left in the third to make it 4-4.

Canada’s Rick Nash took a delay of game penalty 2:42 into the sudden death overtime and the Russians countered by throwing out four forwards on the powerplay.

“It sucks but you know it was a great hockey game,” Ryan Getzlaf of Canada said. “It is an unfortunate outcome with the penalty on the puck going over the glass. It hurts even more but they have got a good hockey team over there.”

Russia also snapped defending champion Canada’s 17-game winning steak at the worlds.

Canada was trying to capture its 25th title become the first country to win on home ice in 22 years since the former Soviet Union did it.

“It is tough but in sudden death anybody can beat anybody and when you win 17 or 18 games in a row you are bound to lose one,” Canadian captain Shane Doan said.

Kovalchuk and Alexander Semin each scored twice and Alexei Tereshchenko scored once for Russia which trailed 4-2 heading into the third before coming back to score the final three goals of the game.

Brent Burns scored twice and Chris Kunitz, Dany Heatley, with his tournament leading 12th goal, scored singles for Canada.

A Russia-Canada game was a dream final for organizers and the fans as it matched the only two unbeaten teams from the round-robin in the 16-team tournament.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the game, watching from the VIP section directly behind the Team Canada bench.

With the teams tied after regulation the game went into a 20 minute sudden death overtime with four skaters on each side instead of the regular five a side.

Kovalchuk’s winner means Russia scored on the first and last shot of the game as Semin opened the scoring for the Big Red Machine just one minute and 23 seconds into the first.

“We are going to get drunk. We deserve this. It is great for our country,” Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin said.

The Russians were especially effective at controlling the puck in the corners in Canada’s end then feeding the open man out front of the net.

It was his biggest game in international competition since a four-goal performance against Latvia at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

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