BERN, Switzerland - Russia is on top of the world again.
After going 15 years without winning gold at the IIHF World Hockey Championship, the Russians made it two in a row Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Canada.
The Canadians have been on the losing end of both dramatic finals, settling for heartbreaking silver and the title of second best in a renewed rivalry between hockey's superpowers. There will be some bad feelings left over from this one.
Alex Radulov scored the game-winner in the second period on a nice individual effort that he followed with a dramatic celebration that angered the Canadian team.
Oleg Saprykin had the other Russian goal and Ilya Bryzgalov made 37 saves.
Jason Spezza replied for Canada while Dwayne Roloson stopped 15 shots.
"Two years in a row, good tournaments, good finals," said Steve Yzerman, executive director of Canada's team for the Vancouver Games. "It promotes the game and it has to create interest in the Olympic tournament."
The Russians showed a different side and sat on the one-goal lead for much of the third period. Canada pushed hard for the equalizer and defenceman Shea Weber had a shot go off the outside of the goal in the final minute.
Once time expired, the Russian players had another dramatic celebration and Canadian captain Shane Doan fired one player's glove into the stands at PostFinance Arena.
The rivalry is alive and well once more heading into the next major international hockey tournament - the Vancouver Olympics.
This one will be fresh in the minds of both teams.
If not for some great play by Roloson, it could have been an ugly start for the Canadians. Doan took a penalty just over three minutes in and the Russians threw out their dangerous power-play unit.
Roloson improbably got his pad on a low shot from Sergei Zinoviev and the rebound was knocked high over the net. Moments later, Alexander Perezhogin saw his great opportunity turned away.
Doan soon made amends for his early penalty by setting up the opening goal with a beautiful no-look backhand pass. Spezza was left with an empty net and scored his seventh of the tournament at 5:37.
It was the eighth time in nine games here that Canada opened the scoring.
The lead ended up lasting a little over seven minutes until the Russians were given another power play when Braydon Coburn accidentally cleared the puck over the glass from his own zone. Saprykin found himself alone in front and tipped home a point shot at 12:59.
Russia had a chance to take a lead before the intermission, but Roloson again stopped Zinoviev before getting his pad on a tipped shot from Ilya Kovalchuk.
The frantic pace slowed down a bit in the second period as both teams dug in and the tension mounted. Kovalchuk was left screaming at the referees after having a tooth knocked out by an inadvertent high-stick from Dany Heatley. There was no call on the play.
Overall, Canada was able to establish more consistent control in the offensive zone but there were constant reminders of the individual skill possessed by the Russian players.
Radulov displayed plenty of that when he carried the puck over the blue-line, outwaited defenceman Chris Phillips while cutting across the top of the slot and beat Roloson at 14:30. As if that wasn't enough to get the attention of the Canadians, the former NHLer-turned-KHLer celebrated by twirling his stick and opening his arms.
There was no immediate retribution for that bit of showmanship, but the Canadian players did put together a strong finish to the frame and got some good chances on Bryzgalov. They just didn't get a goal.
After 40 minutes, the shots were: Canada 27, Russia 13.
The Russians added a few more to their total early in the third period, the best being a near-breakaway rush by Kovalchuk that resulted in a pad save by Roloson. Canada responded with chances of its own and Heatley rang the potential tying goal of Bryzgalov's mask.