Russia Tops Slovakia To Claim World Championship
Slovakia put a scare into the Russians early when Zdeno Chara scored just 66 seconds in, but Russia, powered by two goals and an assist from Alex Semin, bounced back in a big way to overwhelm the Slovaks and win the Gold Medal Game of the 2012 IIHF World Championship 6-2 Sunday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
It is Russia's fourth world championship and its third in the last five years, and it punctuates a perfect tournament for the Russians who finished 10-0.
After Chara's goal had given Slovakia a lead that it held for nearly half of the first period, Semin's score at 9:57 from Alex Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk tied the game. At the end of the first the game was still even, but in the second period Russia broke it wide open. Alexander Perezhogin, Alexei Tereshenko and Semin all scored as Russia jumped out to a 4-1 lead.
The Russians tacked on two more as Datsyuk scored at 3:55 of the third period and Evgeni Malkin put the icing on the cake with 1:58 left in regulation with his tournament-best 11th goal of the World Championship. The goal enabled Malkin to edge Norway's Patrick Thoresen as the top scorer of the tournament with 19 points. Chara scored his second of the night at 9:37 of the third, but it amounted to little more than window dressing as Russia coasted the rest of the way to the gold medal.
Datsyuk tied Semin with a game-high three points, while Russian goalie Semyon Varlamov finished with 29 saves.
Panthers prospect Sergei Shirokov set up Tereshenko's eventual game-winner with 6:29 left to play in the second and finished with three shots on net and a plus-1 on 13:39 of ice time while Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky finished with a shot on net and a minor penalty on 16:14 of ice time for Slovakia.
Both forwards finished with good offensive numbers in the tournament. Kopecky recorded six points (5-1-6) in 10 games and was a plus-6 with 20 shots on an average ice time of 16:32 while Shirokov also had six points (1-5-6) in 10 games and finished with a plus-2 on 21 shots and an average of 15:11 ice time a game.
FULL STORY (IIHF.com)
FINAL STATS (IIHF.com)