(AFP) – 21 hours ago
HELSINKI — Czech Republic grabbed bronze at the world ice hockey championship on Sunday with a tight 3-2 win over the last year's champions Finland.
Goalkeeper Jakub Stepanek produced 34 saves, while Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky made two assists to lead the Czechs to their second consecutive bronze medal.
"We were very disappointed after we failed to make it to the final as we all believed we could do that," Czech manager Alois Hadamszik said.
"But I'm really proud of my players. They worked hard throughout the game and, I think, won the game deservedly."
The Finns came onto the ice of the Hartwall arena desperate to rehabilitate themselves after a 6-2 defeat to Russia in the semis.
But the Czech Republic, the 2010 champions, went into the lead on a powerplay at 12:17 when defender Lukas Krajicek's shot struck his teammate forward Petr Prucha in the leg and went into the net.
Finland levelled at 16:57 through center Mika Pyorala, who fired the puck in between Stepanek's pads after a piece of good individual work.
But Czech forwards Jiri Novotny and David Krejci netted one apiece to gain a 3-1 lead before the first break.
After a goalless second period, Carolina Hurricanes winger Jussi Jokinen reduced the arrears with his powerplay goal after beating the Czech defence on a breakaway at 49:01.
Finland manager Jukka Jalonen substituted his goalkeeper Petri Vehanen for the sixth field player with 1:04 to go in an attempt to save the day but the Czechs defended stoutly.
Jalonen meanwhile blamed his team's lack of discipline for the defeat.
"We started well but failed to score early," he said. "After the Czechs opened the score we managed to level but the next three or four shifts we played with a very poor discipline.
"Everybody knows how good the Czechs are on the counter-attacks. They proved it once again scoring twice late in the first period. It's obviously a coach's problem if he failed to explain to the players how to act in this situation."
Russia and Slovakia will play the final later on Sunday.