VIENNA (CP) - Alexei Kovalev scored the winner with 3:32 left in the third period to help Russia beat host-nation Austria 4-2 Saturday at the world hockey championship.
Raimund Divis' goal at 7:07 of the third period tied the game at 2-2 for Austria but Russia avoided the upset on Kovalev's goal at 16:18.Atlanta Thrashers sniper Ilya Kovalchuk sealed it with an empty-netter at 19:51.
"We had a good start into the match, but failed to close the game early," Russian coach Vladimir Krikunov said. "Nonetheless, we got the win and that's all that matters. After all, our aim is to win gold and that is only possible by defeating everyone in our way." Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Kharitonov, with a short-handed goal, also scored for the Russians.Oliver Setzinger also scored for Austria. Maxim Sokolov stopped 23 shots for the win while Bernd Brueckler made 32 saves in the loss. Despite losing, Austria received a standing ovations from a capacity crowd of nearly 10,000. "It always looks unlucky to miss a tie if you come so close," said Austrian coach Herbert Poeck. "But the Russians dominated the first half of the game and so I was very happy with the way my team came back."
Elsewhere at the world hockey championship Saturday, it was: Slovakia 2, Belarus 1; and Finland 2, Denmark 1.
Later at Vienna, Marian Gaborik's goal at 16:32 of the third-period gave Slovakia the win, despite an outstanding effort by Belarussian goalie Andrei Mezin. The Slovaks out shot Belarus 52-19 and didn't beat Mezin until 1:45 of the third period, when Marian Hossa opened the scoring. Just 1:41 later, Konstantin Koltsov tied things up and Belarus looked set to ride their goalie to the draw until Gaborik's late goal. Jan Lasak made 18 saves for Slovakia.
At Innsbruck, Niko Kapanen assisted on Jere Karalahti's first-period goal and scored the eventual winner 1:43 into the third frame to lead Finland. Fredrik Norrena lost his shutout bid with 58 seconds left when Kasper Degn beat him. He finished with 14 saves. Peter Hirsch kept Denmark in the game with a stellar effort, finishing with 30 saves.
-Referenced from www.sportsnet.ca