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Czech Wins Men's Ice Hockey Bronze
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By trouncing Russia 3-0, the Czechs won the men's ice hockey bronze medal at the Turin Winter Olympic Games on Saturday night.


This was the second men's ice hockey medal for the Czechs since Czechoslovakia split apart in the 1990s.


In the previous encounters at the Olympics, the Czechs met Russia four times, winning one game and losing three times.


At the 1998 Nagano Games, the two teams met in the final when the Czechs beat the Russians 1-0.


Tomas Vokoun, goalkeeper of Czech, said: "Playing for the bronze medal is hard, very hard. Losing a semifinal game is very breaking. We were still disappointed for what happened yesterday with Sweden, but we won, and I'm happy for that medal."


"For me, personally, bronze medal is a great result even if I'm sure that if we had played better with Sweden, we would have been on the ice tomorrow and not tonight," he added.


Russia's forward Alexei Yashin was very disappointed about the result.


"It's very disappointing because we played hard against Canada (in 2-0 quarterfinal win) but the last few games we've played a lot like individuals and we won't get results if we don's play as a team."


Darius Kasparaitis of Russia said: "We have good young talent but we just couldn't find the legs or the scoring touches. The Czechs played well but scored two power-play goals, that's all it was."


After a delayed penalty call, the Czechs scored their first goal in the first period when Martin Eart hit a 20-foot shot past Russia's goalkeeper Evgeni Nabokov at 4:48.


In the second period, Czech Marek Zidlicky made a slap shot on his power play and scored at 3:21 for a 2-0 lead.


At 16:07 of the third period, the Russians made a goal but the referee ruled it out. With only eight seconds to go in the game, Martin Straka scored into an empty net.


There will be a first-ever gold medal match between two Scandinavian countries Finland and Sweden on Sunday.


In the Olympic history, Finland met Sweden 10 times, winning two games, losing five and tying three times.


Sweden defeated the Czech Republic in the semifinal (February 24) to advance to its first Olympic final since 1994.


(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2006)

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