Czechs end Russia's run in worlds final
COLOGNE, Germany -- The Czech Republic captured the hockey world championship, ending Russia's 27-game tournament winning streak with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
Jakub Klepis gave the Czechs the lead just 20 seconds in, and captain Tomas Rolinek made it 2-0 with less than 2 minutes left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk cut Russia's deficit to a goal with 35.3 seconds remaining in the game, but it wasn't enough.
Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers made 35 saves for the Czechs, who have won the world championship title six times since the separation of Czechoslovakia. They also finished first in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005.
"There is no way we should be able to beat Russia on an even level with the team we played tonight when you look at the players they have," said Vokoun, who was a member of the 2005 championship team. "In one game, anything can happen. I highly doubt that we would beat them in a playoff series four times to knock them out."
Czech President Vaclav Klaus congratulated the players in the locker room after the game.
Russia, which has won a record 25 titles, hadn't lost a game at the worlds since 2007.
"The goalie played a great game and they played really good defense. They play maybe a little boring game, but it gives them success," said Russia captain Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils. "It's very disappointing. We came here for the gold and we have great players. But we have to take the positives from this experience and look forward."
In the bronze-medal game, Jonas Andersson scored twice in the third period to lift Sweden to a 3-1 victory over host Germany. Sweden has 15 bronze medals, including six since the current playoff format was introduced in 1992.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,132, the Czechs took the lead on their first rush.
Jaromir Jagr had the puck behind Russia's net and found Klepis, who was unguarded at the far side. Klepis fired a shot into the empty net as goalie Semyon Varlamov of the Washington Capitals was slow to cover.
Datsyuk appeared to net a power-play goal at the end of the first period, but a video replay confirmed that the Detroit Red Wings forward scored just after the horn sounded.
The Czechs withstood plenty of pressure and then doubled the lead with 1:47 remaining in the second period when Karel Rachunek's pass from the right side went in off Rolinek's skate.
In the third, Vokoun made a fine stop on Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who had space and time before winding up for a slap shot.
Russia's Alexei Emelin was given a major penalty and a misconduct midway through the period for a low hit that injured Jagr. Jagr hobbled to the bench with an apparent leg injury and remained there for the rest of the game.
Datsyuk scored off Kovalchuk's pass to give Russia some hope in the final minute.
"I am so happy for the guys," Jagr said. "We have a lot of guys who play in the league in the Czech Republic and no one knows them. If you asked me two weeks ago that this was going to happen, I probably would have said no.
Jagr has played the past two seasons in Russia's KHL after a long career in the NHL. His future plans are undecided.
"I hope [I'm not done playing]," he said. "As long as I can play, I will play. I love playing for the Czech team, and if I can help, I will play."
In the bronze medal game, Magnus Paajarvi Svensson opened the scoring for Sweden less than three minutes in. Germany tied it when Alexander Barta scored off his own rebound with four minutes left in the second period.
Andersson scored twice in the third period to seal the win for Sweden.
"It's not the medal we want, but it does show that Sweden can play with the best of the best," forward Niklas Persson said. "It was important for us to bounce back after losing to the Czechs [Saturday] night."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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