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Czechs, Russians Advance To Play For Gold

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

By Glenn Odebralski for

There's one more game on the docket. And for Russia and the Czech Republic, that will be for the gold medal. For Sweden and Germany, they'll have to settle for battling for bronze.

The Czechs earned their second straight shootout victory, this time a 3-2 win over Sweden as Tomas Vokoun turned away 33 shots and two shootout shots in the affair. For Russia, it took nearly 60 minutes to beat the host nation as Pavel Datsyuk scored with 1:50 left to secure a 2-1 victory over Germany.

CZECH REPUBLIC 3 - Sweden 2 (SO)
The Czech Republic will be playing for World Championship gold tomorrow. And that's thanks to Tomas Vokoun, Jan Marek and Karel Rachunek.

The Czechs down to their final seconds, got a goal from Rachunek with 7.5 seconds left in the third to tie the score at two. Then after a scoreless overtime, the Czech Republic earned their second straight shootout victory.

Marek scored the decisive goal deking Jonas Gustavsson while Vokoun turned away two of the three shots from the Swedes. The Panthers netminder stopped 33 of 35 shots in the first 70 minutes of play.

"It's obviously a great feeling," said goalie Vokoun to "We struggled in the Preliminary Round and almost didn't make it. We were in a must-win situation against Canada, and if we lost, we would have gone home. We've been playing elimination round-style hockey ever since we lost to Norway. That put us in a very bad spot. We've beaten some very good teams, and now we've beaten Sweden twice."

Sweden found the back of the net first. Johan Harju beat Vokoun with a power play goal 8:29 into the first. Harju pounced on a puck in a crease off a rebound for the tally. The Czech Republic would bounce back and tie the score with 2:32 left in the opening period. Tomas Mojzis beat Gustavsson with a weak wrist shot.

The Tre Kroner would take the lead 11:25 into the second. Andreas Engqvist beat Vokoun with a quick shot .

Holding onto the one goal lead for over a period and a half, it wasn't meant to be.

With Vokoun pulled for the extra attacker, Rachunek netted the game-winner.

Vokoun stopped former Panther Magnus Johansson before Lukas Kaspar scored for the Czech Republic. Linus Omark beat Vokoun while Marek would get the game-winner as Vokoun turned away Tony Martensson for the win.

RUSSIA 2 - Germany 1
The Russians won. Again. But it had to be the closest game of the tournament for the favorites as they didn't score the game-winner until 1:50 left in the game to earn a 2-1 victory over Germany.

The host country actually took a lead on Russia thanks to the power play. Nikolai Kulemin was sent off for a five-minute boarding call 11:26 into the first. Then at the 14:32 mark Alexei Emelin was whistled for hooking. That gave Germany a 5-on-3 power play for a almost a full two minutes of play.

With that, Marcel Goc converted on the opportunity with 4:30 left in the frame, beating backup netminder Vasili Koshechkin on a Christian Ehrhoff rebound.

You have to give the overmatched Germans credit. They held the powerhouse Russians off the board until 11:07 into the second period. There, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin netted his fifth of the tournament by one-timing a Sergei Gonchar pass past Rob Zepp, tying the game at one.

The two teams played a defensive first game the rest of the way. The defenses limited the other offenses opportunities. Russia, in fact, only held a 32-27 shot advantage in the contest.

With the time running short, Russia would net the game-winner. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk took a turnover at the Russia blueline and after an end-to-edn rush beat Zepp with a wrist shot.
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