(Courtesy of Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)
On Saturday, Russia defeated Germany with a score of 2-1 for the right to defend their gold medal against the Czech Republic tomorrow night. Pavel Datsyuk scored for the Russians with 1:50 remaining in the game on a breakaway to eliminate both the Germans and any hope they had for overtime or a possible shootout. Vasili Koshechkin made 26 saves in his third appearance of the tournament but will hand over the reigns to Semyon Varlamov in the gold medal game.
Germany opened the scoring in the first period on the power-play after Nikolai Kulemin was given a misconduct for his hit on Korbinian Holzer and Alexei Emelin took a hooking penalty to give the Germans a 5 on 3 advantage. Marcel Goc would collect a rebound off a Christian Ehrhoff slap-shot at 15:30 of the first period to put his team up 1-0. It would be the first time the Russians would be down in this year’s tournament.
Russia would equalize 11 minutes into the second period when Evgeni Malkin scored his fifth goal of the tournament taking a pass from Sergei Gonchar and one-timing it past goalie Robert Zepp to make it 1-1. Ilya Kovalchuk got the secondary assist for his 11th point of the tournament and the captain now leads all scorers in points.
Both teams would have plenty of chances to get the lead but both Zepp and Koshechkin would shut the door until Datsyuk eventually broke through for the winner. The win sets up a date against a team that was last to win the gold three consecutive times in the Czech Republic and Russia will look to add to the record books by going for their overall best 26th world championship. We will of course have the recap and hopeful post game celebrations as we all collectively watch as a website and as a nation.