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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Czechs top Finland to take bronze at Worlds

Sunday, 05.20.2012 / 12:46 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship

NHL.com

The Czech Republic exploded out of the gate with three first-period goals and goaltender Jakub Stepanek made 34 saves and held off a late charge by Finland as the Czechs won the bronze medal game at the 2012 IIHF World Championship 3-2 Sunday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Petr Prucha opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 12:17 of the first period, and while the host Finns would tie the game moments later on a score by Mika Pyorala at 16:53, Jiri Novotny put the Czechs back up just 29 seconds later. A goal by David Krejci on a feed from Ales Hemsky with 53.8 seconds to go in the first gave the Czech Republic a 3-1 lead and eventually held up as the game-winner.

Finnish goalie Petri Vehanen did his best to keep the defending-champion Finns in the game, shutting out the Czechs the rest of the way, including in a second period that saw Finland get outshot 12-10. Vehanen finished with 25 saves.

In the third period the Finns came out strong and threw everything they could at Stepanek, outshooting the Czechs 14-1. Only one of those shots, a power-play goal by Jussi Jokinen at 9:01 of the third, managed to find the back of the net.

Sunday's win gave the Czechs their second consecutive bronze medal at the tournament after winning the bronze at the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. The Czech Republic last won the gold at the 2010 tournament in Germany.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery