World Championships 2007 Bronze Medal Game

Sunday, 13th May 2007

Jim 'Tambo' Piper gives us his report on the IIHF World Championships Bronze Medal game.


The battle for the bronze between last years champions and this years favourites was always going to be a tense affair. Russia, so disappointed not tobe competing for gold, determined to pt on a good show for the home supporters and Sweden out to show that their mix of home grown players are good enough for a medal.

Russia opened the scoring on 6:18 with an exquisite short hander. Frolov picked up a loose puck in his own defensive zone and raced off left and fed Zaripov who found the trailing Emelin on the right of the crease, who lifted a backhand over Backlund.

Three minutes later and the Swedes were reeling at 0-2. Zaripov and Emelin played a neat one two and Emelin shot from centre point. Backlund made a good save but Zinoviev pounced on the rebound to slot home. Emelin was involved again with three and a half minutes left when he took a nasty elbow from Hedstrom which went unpunished by the referee. In the last minute of the first period Ovechkin went coast to coast through the Swedish defence but just lost control of the puck in front of Backlund. End of 1st period 3-0 to Russia.

Alexander Frolov put the game beyond Sweden with just 1:04 on the clock in the second. A nice tip from an Artyushov shot from the point beat Backlund. Sweden were outshooting Russia for most of the second but it was the quality that came from the Red Bear. Backlund made a good save from a Malkin slapshot and with 5 minutes left in the period Ovechkin and Radulov messed up on a good 2 on 1 play. End of 2nd and 3-1 to Russia.

Sweden upped their pace in the third and around the 7 minute mark, Eremenko had to make a couple of good pad saves from Wallin. Two minutes later and Sweden got on the scorecard. Steen found himself in space into the slot and absolutely belted a laser past Eremenko to bust the shutout. The game ended with shots at both ends but the score remained 3-1 to Russia.

Bronze medal for Russia, who for me, were by far the most entertaining team in the competition. The Kazan line of Morozov, Zapirov and Zivoniev were a delight to watch. Malkin had a good tournament but Ovechkin disappointed. Last years champions go home with nothing and the coach’s job must be on the line for going against all opinion and refusing to take NHL players when they finished their Stanley Cup games.