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Russia beat Switzerland to win bronze at World Junior Hockey Championship

Russia beat Switzerland to win bronze at World Junior Hockey Championship
Russia ensured they ended the World Junior Hockey Championship on a high as they beat a determined Switzerland to win bronze in Vancouver, Canada.

The Russians ran out 5-2 winners thanks to a hat-trick from Kirill Slepets and goals from captain Klim Kostin and Nikita Shashkov.

The Swiss underdogs put up strong resistance and replied through Valentin Nussbaumer and Yannick Bruschweiler, but ultimately Russia’s class shone through as they put the disappointment of the semi-final defeat to the US behind them to finish with a medal.

Russian goalie Pyotr Kochetkov, on the books at Ryazan in the second-tier VHL in his homeland, put in a characteristically strong performance and was later named goaltender of the tournament.

Kochetkov’s contribution to the team will likely have caught the interest of teams in the NHL, while forward Grigori Denisenko – who ended with four goals and five assists at the tournament – and defenseman Alexander Romanov were both named in the team of the championships.

Russian captain Kostin, who had faced controversy after the semi-final loss to the US over his behavior at the post-game ceremony, was again booed by some sections of the crowd at Rogers Arena.

He responded to his goal to put Russia 3-1 up by covering his ears.

"The crowd was booing the Russian team and me personally," Kostin said. "When I scored, it was automatic. I did it automatically, but I didn't want to offend anyone."

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Assistant captain Dmitri Samorukov said that the result would send the team home from Canada in a buoyant mood, despite the agony of missing out on a shot at the gold.

"It feels pretty good. You win your last game, right? So it feels like gold. We can't find the words for it. You're family when you meet for two weeks, three weeks. It's unbelievable just to see guys and all this stuff. It's pretty special."

Later in the day Finland stunned the US in the gold medal game, winning 3-2 thanks to a Kaapo Kakko goal with just 1:26 left on the clock.

The victory handed the talented Finns their third gold medal in six years at the under-20 tournament, and fifth in total.   

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