QUEBEC CITY, Canada (AFP) — Alexander Semin started it off and Ilya Kovalchuk clinched it in overtime as Russia scored on the first and last shots to capture the gold medal at the World Ice Hockey Championships.
In between, Kovalchuk and Semin scored other goals, Russian netminder Evgeny Nabokov made 25 saves and Canada's Rick Nash took an ill-timed delay of game penalty in overtime that led to Kovalchuk's winner.
It all added up to Russia snapping a 15-year gold-medal drought by rallying to dethrone Canada 5-4 in the championship game in front of a crowd of 13,339 at the Colisee arena.
With the win, Russia ended Canada's 17-game win streak and extended its winning streak at the worlds to nine straight games.
"We have a great team with great players and we believed in each other," defenceman Andrei Markov said.
Finland beat Sweden 4-0 on Saturday to win the bronze medal to go with a silver they captured in 2007.
Canada picked up the silver Sunday and suffered its first loss at the worlds since the bronze medal game in 2006 to Finland.
Kovalchuk scored the winner on the powerplay with 2:42 gone in the overtime, firing a wrist shot from 25 feet that beat Canadian goalie Cam Ward.
Kovalchuk, who just returned from a suspension, also scored the game-tying goal with just over five minutes left in the third to make it 4-4.
Canada's Nash took a delay of game penalty 2:42 into the sudden death overtime and the Russians countered by throwing out four forwards on the powerplay. Nash was penalized for accidently shooting the puck over the glass in his own end.
"It sucks, but you know it was a great hockey game," Canadian forward Ryan Getzlaf said. "It is an unfortunate outcome with the penalty on the puck going over the glass. It hurts even more but they have got a good hockey team over there."
Canada was trying to capture its 25th title become the first country to win on home ice in 22 years since the former Soviet Union did it.
"It is tough, but in sudden death anybody can beat anybody and when you win 17 or 18 games in a row you are bound to lose one," Canadian captain Shane Doan said.
Alexei Tereshchenko also scored for Russia which trailed 4-2 heading into the third before coming back to score the final three goals of the game.
Brent Burns scored twice and Chris Kunitz, Dany Heatley, with his tournament leading 12th goal, scored singles for Canada. Heatley was named tournament MVP.
A Russia-Canada game was a dream final for organizers and the fans as it matched the only two unbeaten teams from the round-robin in the 16-team tournament which was being hosted in Canada for the first time in the 100-year history of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the game, watching from the VIP section directly behind the Team Canada bench.
With the teams tied after regulation the game went into a 20-minute sudden death overtime with four skaters on each side. Russia took the unusual step of putting out four forwards for the powerplay in overtime and it worked.
The Russians were especially effective at controlling the puck in the corners in Canada's end then feeding the open man out front of the net.
"We are going to get drunk. We deserve this. It is great for our country," said Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin.
Canada looked to be heading to victory and their fifth gold in 12 years when Kovalchuk scored to tie the game late in the third.
Kovalchuk took advantage of some sloppy Canadian defence, using Canadian defenceman Jay Bouwmeester as a screen and shooting through his legs past Ward. Bouwmeester was on the ice for all four Russian goals.
Kovalchuck returned to the Russian lineup against Canada after being suspended for the semi-finals.
It was his biggest game in international competition outdoing a four-goal performance against Latvia at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Canada was guilty of relaxing with the lead late in the game and it cost them against the Russians who had a 25-14 shot advantage over the final two periods of regulation.
"Your main focus is not to sit back, but the more you think about it the more you do it," Getzlaf said.
"Anyone will tell you that's hardest thing in hockey is to keep that pressure on them when you have the lead like that in the third.
"Nobody wants to make that mistake and turn over the puck. They were able to capitalize on a couple of opportunities in the third and battle back into it."
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