BostonBruins.com – The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship came to a close on Sunday afternoon and Russia took home the gold after defeating Zdeno Chara's squad from Slovakia 6-2.
Despite two goals from Chara, including one just 1:06 into the contest from the Boston Bruins captain, Slovakia took home the silver medal.
"It was early in the game," Chara told IIHF.com. "We knew it wouldn't be enough."
Halfway through the first period Alexander Semin evened the score for the Russians, who then added four more unanswered goals in the second.
Facing a 5-1 deficit, Slovakia battled back in the final 20 minutes of play. With Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin serving a slashing penalty, Chara capitalized on the team’s first power play opportunity and made the score to 5-2 with just over 10 minutes to play.
Despite Chara’s efforts, Evgeni Malkin, would eventually be named the game's MVP and Best Forward of the Tournament, added another goal for Russia with 1:57 remaining.
Although Slovakia fell short of the gold, Chara said he and his teammates had no regrets.
"We were disappointed to lose the game, but not in how we finished the tournament," Chara said. "It's a privilege to play in the final and I tried to tell the guys to enjoy the moment.
"You never know when you get a chance to do that again."
Chara was named Best Defenseman of the Tournament, and voted to the All-Star team by the media. Fellow Slovakian Jan Laco was named Best Goalkeeper of the tournament as well. However, the teammates clearly weren’t playing for individual honors.
"We play not just for us, but for our country," Chara said. “We know it's not just for us.
"It's also for Pavol.”
Chara, the Slovakian captain, referred to former friend and teammate, Pavol Demitra, who perished in the Yaroslavl plane crash last year. Many players paid tribute to Demitra throughout the tournament, and Chara sported Demitra's no. 38 jersey to accept Slovakia’s silver medal.
Krejci Takes Home a Bronze
The Bruins Norris-nominated defenseman wasn't the only Bruins player to earn a medal. Even though Slovakia defeated David Krejci's Czech Republic 3-1 in the semi-finals, the Czechs went on to face Finland in the bronze medal round and Krejci scored the game winner with 53:8 seconds remaining in the first period.
"We kind of did a little give-and-go, and it was a pretty easy tap-in for me," Krejci told IIHF.com.
But the remainder of the contest proved harder. The Czechs maintained their early 3-1 lead until 9:00 in the third when the Finns brought the score within one goal, but the Czechs held on to finish with a 3-2 victory.
"At this tournament, it comes down to one game, and it didn’t work for us yesterday,” Krejci said of the Czech's loss to Slovakia. “We regrouped pretty well last night and today.
"The bronze medal feels pretty good right now.”