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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Edge Czechs to Win Cup

Host Russia defeated the Czech Republic 1-0 in the finals of the Izvestia Cup hockey tournament Tuesday night, capitalizing on a first-period penalty to win the event for the 22nd time in 27 years.


Sergei Sorokin, assisted by Vladimir Vorobjev and Igor Korolev, scored the lone goal of the game on a power play 13 minutes and 56 seconds into the first period after a penalty against Czech defenseman Peter Tejkl.


"This was my third try to win the tournament and we beat a very good team," Russian coach Boris Mikhailov said after the game. "So the victory is twice as sweet."


Throughout the opening period the Russians were the better team as the almost 10,000-strong crowd at the Luzhniki Sports Palace cheered on the home side. But the Russians could only manage one goal against the tough Czech goalie Roman Cechmanek. Several excellent opportunities in front of the net were denied by his superior goaltending.


The second period saw a less defensive Czech team as both sides took to the attack, but strong goalkeeping and tough defensive play from both teams kept both sides scoreless. The game turned more physical in the third period, but still the Czechs were unable to equalize.


Russia outshot the Czechs for the game 36-22.


"A match like this is usually decided by one goal or one mistake," Czech coach Ludek Bukach said after the game. "Our opponent was better in the first period and in the second and third periods. We came up short."


The two countries on the ice Tuesday have dominated the Izvestia tournament throughout its 27 years, winning every year except 1987, when Canada triumphed. The Soviet and Russian teams won 22 times, and the Czechoslovak and Czech Republic teams four times.


In the bronze-medal game Saku Koivy scored the game-winner after just 20 seconds of overtime in the match beween Finland and Sweden, allowing Finland to edge out its archrival and capture third place. In other games France defeated Switzerland 5-3 to finish 7th overall. Norway shut out Italy 2-0 to claim 5th place.


Andrei Tarasenko of Russia was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player in balloting by journalists, and won a prize of $10,000. Russia's Sergei Abramov was named best goalie, Finland's Marko Kiprusov was named best defenseman and the Czech Republic's Roman Horak was the top forward.


Asked after the match why National Hockey League stars such as Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure and Alexei Kasatanov had not played with the Russian team, Mikhailov said he had done everything he could to convince them to play, but "if they decide not to, it's their decision."


The players were reportedly unhappy with their treatment by Russian hockey authorities.


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Two NHL players, fed up with the lockout which has placed this year's North American ice hockey season on the brink of collapse, have agreed to play for Chelyabinsk Traktor in the Russian league, Reuters reported.


Itar-Tass quoted the Vecherny Chelyabinsk newspaper as saying Sergei Makarov and Igor Larionov of the San Jose Sharks had agreed to join the team. They would join Valery Karpov, another NHL player, at the Russian club.