Russia ruins repeat for U.S.

Russia's Alexander Ovechkin celebrates his third period goal against the U.S.A. during semi-final...

Russia's Alexander Ovechkin celebrates his third period goal against the U.S.A. during semi-final World Junior Hockey action in Grand Forks, North Dakota Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005. Russia won the game 7-2 and will face off against Canada in the gold medal game Tuesday.(CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Canada's quest for world junior gold requires a victory over its biggest rival. For the third time in four years, the championship finale pits the high-flying Canadians against Russia after the latter scored a 7-2 victory over the U.S. in last night's other semifinal.

It'll be the fourth gold-medal meeting between Canada and Russia since the tournament moved to a championship final.

Russia has claimed all three previous showdowns, which makes tomorrow's clash all the more intriguing.

"It goes back to '72," said Canadian head coach Brent Sutter. "There'll always be that excitement in the air. It's just the way it is."

The Russians stormed out of the gates and took the lead less than two minutes into the game when Enver Lisin opened the scoring at the rabid Ralph Engelstad Arena. It then appeared they were off an running when Alexander Ovechkin doubled the edge before the five-minute mark.

The Americans evened the count on goals by Robbie Schremp and Patrick O'Sullivan but Sergei Shirokov scored what became the winner before the wild first period was finished.

A scoreless second period left the Americans hoping for the comeback but Evgeni Malkin added an insurance marker halfway through the final frame to salt it away.

Malkin and Ovechkin added late empty netters and Mikhail Yunkov rounded out the scoring with a powerplay goal just before the final buzzer.

"Guys came back and had some big expectations for this year," said O'Sullivan, who was part of last year's gold-medal-winning American team. "I think any team that doesn't win in this tournament is going to be disappointed."

The Americans will meet the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game.

It's expected Russia will provide the toughest competition yet for the unbeaten Canadians.

- - -

RUSSIA: 7

U.S.A.: 2


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