Russia tops Slovakia for gold
|Team Russia poses for a photo after defeating Slovakia in the IIHF World Championships gold-medal game in Helsinki, Finland, May 20, 2012. (PETR JOSEK/Reuters)
HELSINKI - Russia captured the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Championships on Sunday with a 6-2 victory over underdog Slovakia.
The Russians went undefeated in this year's event and claimed their third title since 2008.
Alexander Syomin scored two goals and set up another for Russia, which got 29 saves from Semyon Varlamov.
Syomin's second tally capped a three-goal second period and gave Russia a 4-1 lead. Linemate Pavel Datsyuk registered a goal and two assists.
Captain Zdeno Chara supplied both goals for the Slovaks, who were vying for their second gold medal. They beat the Russians 10 years ago in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jan Laco gave up five goals on 33 shots in defeat. Slovakia had won seven straight since dropping their first two games in the preliminary round.
Earlier Sunday, the Czech Republic posted a 3-2 victory over host Finland in the bronze medal game.
Petr Prucha, Jiri Novotny and David Krejci scored first-period goals for the Czechs and Jakub Stepanek did just enough with 34 saves to lift the Czechs to a second straight bronze medal. The Czechs also won a medal for the third consecutive year, taking gold in 2010.
Mika Pyorala and Jussi Jokinen both scored for Finland, which outshot the Czechs 14-1 in the third period and came up just short in a bid for a repeat medal. The Finns won last year's gold in Bratislava. Petri Vehanen made 25 saves in defeat.
Krejci's third goal of the tournament gave the Czechs a 3-1 lead in the final minute of the first period. After a scoreless second, Jokinen pulled the Finns within one on a power play just past the nine-minute mark of the third.
That was all Stepanek yielded, however, despite the shot disparity in the closing period.