Russia claim shootout win over Czechs to clinch World Championship bronze (VIDEO)
Russia ensured they left the Ice Hockey World Championship with the consolation of bronze as they earned a shootout win over the Czech Republic after the pair had finished locked at 2-2 following overtime.
Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy of NHL club Tampa Bay Lightning was the shootout hero, saving three attempts while Jakub Vrana also missed his for the Czechs.
Nikita Kucherov missed for Russia but captain Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev both scored to hand their team the bronze medal and ensure they don’t leave Slovakia empty-handed.
Heading into the game, the Czechs had been battered 5-1 by Canada in their semifinal while Russia were edged out 1-0 by Finland.
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But the bronze medal game proved a hard-fought affair throughout.
It was Russia who opened the scoring at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava through Mikhail Grigorenko 13 minutes into the first period.
The Czechs replied just 41 seconds later when Michal Repik scored, and were in front near the end of the period when Dominik Kubalik found the net.
Russia leveled things back up right at the start of the second period through Artem Anisimov, but neither team managed to find a further breakthrough in regulation time.
The teams remained deadlocked in overtime – despite the Czechs racking up a total of 50 shots to Russia’s 30 during the game as both pressed for the win.
It went to the shootout, where Russian goaltender Vasilevskiy stepped up as the hero to cap a strong tournament for the Tampa Bay man.
The bronze means Russia have won medals at five of the past six world championships: gold in 2014, followed by silver in 2015 and third-place finishes in 2016, 2017 and now this year.