Pekka Rinne

Alex Ovechkin

Russia wins World Hockey Championship after Olympic failure

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Nothing can erase Sochi, but the Russian men’s hockey team exacted another redeeming bit by beating Finland 5-2 to win the World Hockey Championship in Minsk, Belarus on Sunday.

NHL stars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin scored second-period goals for the Russians, who had lost to Finland in the Olympic quarterfinals in Sochi in February.

Sergei Shirokov Danis Zaripov  and Viktor Tikhonov scored Russia’s other goals on Finland’s Pekka RinneOlli Palola and Iiro Pakarinen tallied goals for Finland on Russian Sergei Bobrovsky.

Russia ran roughshod through the World Championships, winning all 10 games in regulation with a plus-32 goal differential. It beat the U.S. 6-1 in group play, France 3-0 in the quarters and Sweden 3-1 in the semis.

Russia went into the tournament with a little bit of a talent edge, given the KHL season had ended and many NHL stars were unavailable due to their playoffs. The U.S. roster included zero 2014 Olympians.

Russia hired a new coach after the Olympics, Latvian Oleg Znarok, who was suspended for the gold-medal game. Znarok made a throat-slashing gesture toward a Swedish assistant during an argument in the semifinals Saturday.

Still, he led Russia to its fifth World Championship since the breakup of the Soviet Union and fourth since 2008. The U.S. has not won a World Championship since 1960, when the Olympics counted as the World Championship.

Earlier, Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist and 2013 world champion, beat the Czech Republic 3-0 for the bronze medal. Five-time Czech Olympian Jaromir Jagr announced his international retirement after the game.

The 2015 World Hockey Championships will be in the Czech Republic next May.

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