BRATISLAVA – In one of the most entertaining bronze medal games of all time, the Czech Republic claimed third place with a 7-4 win over Russia this afternoon at Orange Arena. Roman Cervenka led the way with three goals and an assist in a game that featured all-out offence and wildly entertaining hockey. The eleven total goals was the most ever at World Championship and Olympic play.
Twice Russia had the lead but couldn't hold it during a second period in which the Czechs scored three times. Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals for the losers. Petr Prucha added two goals and an assist for the Czechs. Noticeably absent from the Russians' effort was Alexander Ovechkin, who made several giveaways and ended the tournament with zero points in five games.
"It’s a medal," boasted Jakub Voracek. "After what we did in the first two rounds, we were expecting gold, like everybody else. But it feels a lot better than after the semi-finals, and I’m very happy to get this bronze."
"We made way too many mistakes," offered Russia's Fyodor Tyutin, "more mistakes than they did. We feel awful. It’s not where we wanted to be."
It was a game that looked more like an all-star game than medal game. Goals aplenty, little defence, no trap coaching, goalies hung out to dry. That’s old-time hockey! Both teams were in synch and were happy to offer the noisy and happy fans this pre-gold-medal treat of a game.
""This was a great group of guys," said Jaromir Jagr. "Last year, we showed that we can win even if we don't have our best players. This year, the NHL players came, too, and the team attitude was still there. Too bad we played against a Swedish team that just didn't make any mistakes."
In what might well have been the most entertaining period of bronze medal hockey in decades, the teams came out guns a-blazin’ from the drop of the puck, clearly impressed by the sheen of bronze after being eliminated from gold-medal contention. They combined for five goals in the first 20 minutes, Russia getting three, all exciting plays off the rush. A packed Orange Arena with half the fans shouting, “Rossiya!” and the other, “Cesky!” only added to the atmosphere.
Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov
gave the Russians a 2-1 lead with his second of the tournament with a shot far side under Ondrej Pavelec's blocker pad 9:40 into the first period. Kulikov finished with the goal on three shots and was a plus-1 on 15:39 of ice time (25 shifts).FULL STORY