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A Jubilant End To The Championships

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

By Glenn Odebralski for

What a way to wrap up the World Championships in Germany, especially for Panthers players.

Entering the Sunday, three players were going for medals with Tomas Vokoun and the Czech Republic battling Dmitry Kulikov and Russia for gold while Jacob Markstrom taking on Germany in the bronze medal game.

It was a great day for all three. With the final horn in the gold medal game, each one won a medal at the World Championships.

Sweden upended Germany 3-1 while the Czechs thanks to a sparkling 35-save effort from Vokoun shocked Russia with a 2-1 victory in the gold medal game.

SWEDEN 3 - Germany 1 (Bronze Medal Game)
Playing earlier in the day that they wanted, Sweden had to make sure they were up for the bronze medal against the hosts and a very pro-German crowd.

The Swedes were able to regroup from a shootout loss to the Czechs on Saturday in the semis and took home the bronze with a 3-1 victory over Germany in Mannheim.

The favorites got on the board first. Tournament All-Star and Edmonton prospect Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson found the back of the net just 2:56 into the game, beating Tournament MVP Dennis Endras.

The Swedes held on to that lead for almost 34 minutes before the Germans would give their crowd something to cheer about. Alexander Barta got the puck past Leafs netminder Jonas Gustavsson off his own rebound with 3:57 left in the second period, tying the score at one.

Heading into the final period of play deadlocked at one, it was time for one final pep talk. And for Sweden it worked. Jonas Andersson got the lead back for Sweden just 3:57 into the third for his fifth of the tournament.

With time running out, Germany pulled Endras with 1:04 left in the game. Despite some chances, the Germans weren't able to tie the score and Andersson shut the door with an empty netter for his second of the night with 33 seconds left.

For Sweden it was their second straight World Championships with a bronze.

And for Panthers prospect Jacob Markstrom, it was his second bronze at a World Championship tournament in the last four months. He took home bronze at the World Junior Championships in January in Canada as well.

CZECH REPUBLIC 2 - Russia 1 (Gold Medal Game)
The final game.

Two teams battling it out for the Gold Medal.

One team (Russia) was expected to be there. The other (Czech Republic) had to beat Canada on the final day of qualifying just to make it onto the quarters before two victories via the shootout propelled them to the final game.

With the momentum on their side, the Czechs scored early in the game and with Tomas Vokoun between the pipes, shut down the powerful Russians for nearly 60 minutes in a 2-1 victory Sunday.

The win ended a 27-game Russian win streak at the IIHF World Championships.

It didn't take long for the Czechs to get on the board. 20 seconds in to be exact as NHL great Jaromir Jagr set up Jakub Klepis for the tally. Klepis, sitting in front of the net took the feed from behind the net and beat Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov to get the juices flowing in the game.

Later in the first, the Czechs took three straight penalties. Despite the chances, Russia came up with nothing, in large part to the Panthers netminder. Vokoun stopped all 13 shots in the opening period.

He followed that up with another 12 saves in the second. With Vokoun turning everything he saw aside, captain Tomas Rolinek gave the Czechs a 2-0 cushion with 1:47 left in the frame. Rolinek deflected a centering pass off his foot and past Valramov for the goal.

The Czechs had a golden opportunity to add to their lead 9:50 into the third. There A Emelin received a game misconduct and a five minute major for clipping Jagr. Despite the power play chance, the Czechs came up empty.

But then again so did the Russians in the final period. They put shot after shot on Vokoun and yet couldn't solve the netminder.

The Russians pulled their Varlamov with 2:36 left and had a two-man advantage after Rolinek went off for tripping with two minutes left in the period. Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin canceled the power play with a roughing penalty with 1:33 left. Varlamov, who went in for a couple of seconds for a face-off was pulled again.

Russia finally broke through and put a huge scare into the Czechs when Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk one-timed the puck past Vokoun for his sixth of the tournament with 36 seconds remaining, ending Vokoun's shutout bid.

The favorites then got several good opportunities late on the Czechs and Vokoun but Vokoun smothered each of the attempts. He finished with 10 saves in the final period of play.

Vokoun, named as one of the Czech Republic's three best players for the tournament, finished with 35 saves in the gold medal effort. It was the second time in his career that he won World Championship gold (2005).
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