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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Beats World Champions

Sergei Gusev scored midway through the third period and Vitaly Proshkin added an empty netter in the fading seconds as Russia downed world champion Slovakia 3-1 at the Baltika Cup international ice hockey tournament on Saturday. It was their first match since Slovakia beat Russia 4-3 in the world championship final for its first ever ice hockey title in May.

In later action, Tomas Blazek and Michal Sup scored a goal apiece within 25 seconds early in the second period to help defending champion Czech Republic beat Finland 3-2.

Russia started its game strongly, forcing Slovak goalie Pavol Rybar to make a series of saves in the first minutes of the game, but the Slovak defense stood strong and allowed the Russians only one shot on goal in four minutes of power play later in the first period.

Center Roman Kukumberg scored at 18:11 to give Slovakia a 1-0 lead before the first break.

The world champions controlled the game in the second period before center Alexei Chupin, assisted by linemate Andrei Subbotin, equalized at 27:28 on one of the first Russian attacks after the break. After that, it was a one-way game and the home side outshot Slovakia 9-2 in the second period.

Russia, supported by a noisy crowd of 4,500 at the Luzhniki Indoor Arena, continued its domination in the third period and Gusev scored on an unexpected wrist shot at 51:05 to make it 2-1 as the home side had 14 shots on goal against Slovakia's 3.

Slovakia pulled Rybar on a power play for a two-man advantage with 20 seconds left in the game and Proshkin fixed the final scoring, hitting the empty net with a shot from the red line with six seconds left in the match.

Against the Czechs, defender Arto Tukio, assisted by right wing Pasi Saarela, put Finland on the scoreboard with a power-play goal five minutes into the game.

Center Blazek equalized from a goalmouth scramble on a power play just 2 minutes and 21 seconds into the second period.

Right-wing Sup shocked the Finns 25 seconds later with a close-range goal, forcing Finland coach Hannu Aravirta to take a 30-second timeout.

Center Michal Mikeska made it 3-1 at 30:13. It was his third goal in the tournament.

Center Jari Kauppila narrowed the gap at 48:38 with a slap shot from the blue line. The puck deflected from the left post of the Czech goal and bounced off the goalie's skate into the net.

Finland kept on the offensive and pulled the goalie 29 seconds before the final whistle but the Czech defense was strong.

"We knew that by winning the match we would win the tournament. In the third period we hoped we could even the game and turn the match into overtime. Now we have to wait till tomorrow," said Aravirta.

Finland had not dropped a point in three matches before losing on Saturday and still tops the standings with nine points. The Czech Republic is one point behind and was to play Russia (6 points) on Sunday.

The tournament is the third of four legs of the European Hockey Tour and features each country's best players outside the U.S. National Hockey League.

The fourth leg, the Sweden Hockey Games, will be played in February.