(Courtesy of Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)
After winning every game in this years Men’s World Championships, Team Russia could not overcome a lucky yet scrappy Czech Republic team to capture their third consecutive gold medal. Instead the Russians leave Germany with a feeling of disarray and disappointment just like in the 2010 Olympics when they were favored to win it all but were bounced in the quarter-finals.
Oddly enough the Russians lost to the country who last won three consecutive golds from 1999-2001 and despite having three times the NHL players than their counter-parts the big red machine could not overcome an early lead and we mean early (20 seconds in) for their 28th consecutive win. For the efforts throughout the tournament the Russians were rewarded so to speak by going to the top of the IIHF rankings after being knocked down to second by Canada after the Olympics.
As for the game itself Russia was down almost instantly when Jaromir Jagr grabbed the puck behind the net and, with Semyon Varlamov paddle down and focused on him, fed the puck in front to an unguarded Jakub Klepis, who hammered it into the unguarded cage. Russia would try to respond but could only hear the sound of the posts and just when they thought they had the tying goal it was waved off due to time in the first period having expired before Pavel Datysuk’s shot crossed the line.
In the second period Alexander Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov accidentally collided leading to a Czech rush where Tomas Rolinek went hard to the net and a centering pass from Karel Rachunek deflected high off his skate into the net past Varlamov which was deemed good upon review. The Czechs would take the 2-0 lead deep into the third period until With 35 seconds left, Datsyuk cut the deficit to 2-1 with a perfect one-timer, set up by Ilya Kovalchuk, but it was little too late as time expired and the Czechs jubilantly celebrated their sixth championship and first since 2005. Kovalchuk would finish with 12 points in the tournament for top honors.
This could be the last time Russian fans will see Fedorov in a national team jersey as the 40-year-old might very well not return next year in Slovakia. Below are the highlights of the game and before we go we’re wondering if anyone has seen Alex Ovechkin who after scoring in the first five games got one assist the rest of the way and should feel at least somewhat responsible for the little offense his team generated in their last two games.