HELSINKI (AFP) –
Russia battled from a goal down to win the world championship on Sunday, beating 2002 champions Slovakia 6-2 in the final.
Washington Capitals right winger Alexander Syomin scored two goals and picked an assist, while Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk collected a goal and two assists to record Russia’s 10th win in as many matches at the event.
“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’s 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 scorelines.”
“We had to battle back in the matches with Sweden, Finland and Slovakia and it wasn’t easy in these games. Today we played strictly according to our plan, with discipline and it decided the game. We all are really happy to win.”
Slovakia, who were playing in their third final, got off to a flying start through their skipper Zdeno Chara, who fired the puck in with a powerful slap shot just 1:06 into the match.
Russia put the pressure on Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco and levelled nine minutes later through Syomin.
In the second period, Russia, who won their last world title in 2009, stepped up a gear and scored three goals through right winger Alexander Perezhogin and center Alexei Tereshenko, while Syomin netted his second to give Russia a 4-1 lead.
Datsyuk scored Russia’s fifth 3:55 into the third period, sending the puck into the net on Syomin’s pass from behind the goal line forcing Slovakia manager Vladimir Vujtek to substitute Laco for Peter Hamerlik.
Boston Bruins rear guard Chara scored Slovakia’s second and his second of the match at 49:37 on powerplay but NHL scoring champion Yevgeni Malkin made it 6-2 for Russia at 58:02.
“We were planning to play tight in defence, 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.”
Earlier, the Czech Republic grabbed bronze for the second consecutive year with a tight 3-2 win over the last year’s champions Finland.
The Finns came into the match desperate to rehabilitate themselves after a 6-2 defeat to Russia in the semis.
But the 2010 champions Czech Republic went into the lead on a powerplay at 12:17 when defender Lukas Krajicek’s shot struck his teammate forward Petr Prucha in the leg and went into the net.
Finland levelled at 16:57 through center Mika Pyorala but Czech forwards Jiri Novotny and David Krejci netted one apiece to gain a 3-1 lead before the first break.
After a goalless second period, Carolina Hurricanes winger Jussi Jokinen reduced the arrears with a powerplay goal after beating the Czech defence on a breakaway at 49:01.
Finland manager Jukka Jalonen substituted his goalkeeper for the sixth field player with 1:04 to go in an attempt to save the day but the Czechs defended stoutly.
“We were very disappointed after we failed to make it to the final as we all believed we could do that,” Czech manager Alois Hadamszik said.
“But I’m really proud of my players. They worked hard throughout the game and, I think, won the game deservedly.”
Next year’s championship will also be played in Sweden and Finland with the deciding matches taking place at Stockholm Globe arena.