Russia beat Canada to end gold medal drought

Sun May 18, 2008 7:26pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

QUEBEC CITY (Reuters) - Russia rallied to their first world championship gold medal since 1993 when Ilya Kovalchuk's overtime powerplay goal gave them a 5-4 win over defending champions Canada on Sunday.

Kovalchuk broke free when it mattered to send the contest into overtime with his first goal of the tournament late in the third period and then notched the winner 2:42 into overtime.

The goal stunned the capacity crowd at the Quebec Colisee, watching in disbelief as the Russian team poured off the bench to mob Kovalchuk.

"During the whole tournament, it doesn't matter who scores it's all a team effort," Kovalchuk told reporters. "Everyone was asking when I would score."

The victory capped an unbeaten run through the tournament for Russia and the title was made all the sweeter as it came against their fiercest rivals, who were hosting the championships for the first time.

It was also sweet revenge from a year ago when the Canadian national anthem was played in Moscow following their gold medal win over Finland.

The loss was the first by Canada in 18 world championship games, denying them their bid to become the first hosts to capture the title since the Soviet Union in 1986.

CLASSIC MATCHUP   Continued...

<p>Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal on Canada during the third period of the gold medal game at the 2008 World Hockey Championships in Quebec City May 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger</p>