Russia dominates Slovakia to win 2012 IIHF gold; 2014 Sochi groups announced
The 2012 IIHF World Championships wrapped up Sunday with Russia continuing its recent dominance earning its third gold medal in five years with a 6-2 victory over Slovakia. Russia won all 10 of its games of the tournament and scored 44 goals to lead all teams. It was the first team since the Soviet Union in 1989 to win every game in regulation.
Leading the way in the gold medal game were Alex Semin (two goals, one assist), Pavel Datsyuk (one goal, two assists) and Alex Ovechkin (two assists). Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves and won all eight of his starts to finish with a 1.77 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.
Evgeni Malkin earned MVP honors for the tournament after netting 11 goals and 19 points in 10 games. He scored the final goal for Russia on a lovely individual effort:
Throughout the tournament, the Slovakian players paid tribute to Pavol Demitra, the hockey great who perished in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl airplane crash last September. Some players wore his No. 38 on their equipment and others sported T-shirts with his picture on them under their jerseys.
Zdeno Chara paid his own tribute to Demitra after the game.
Chara, who scored both Slovakia goals Sunday and was named "Best Defenseman" in the tournament, and named "Player of the Game" from his side. During the postgame, he wore Demitra's jersey:
Even before Sunday's victory, Russia cemented its place atop the IIHF's rankings. The results of the tournament also confirmed the groups for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
The Russians will be grouped with Slovakia and the United States. Group B will feature Finland, Canada and Norway, while the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland make up Group C. A fourth country in each group will come through final qualification next February.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy