Five Washington Capitals players went toe-to-toe in the bronze medal game of 2019 IIHF World Championship: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov for Team Russia and Jakub Vrana and Dmitrij Jaskin for the Czech Republic.
The Russians would be victorious in the shootout.
“Of course it’s a bit of a redemption,” Alex Ovechkin said to IIHF.com after the game. “Every time when you lose a game to go to the final, winning the next game is a kind of relaxation, a bit more room to breathe and a little bit more happiness to get a bronze.”
13 minutes into the first period, Mikhail Grigorenko gave Russia a 1-0 lead after redirecting a Mikhail Sergachev shot from the point. The Czech Republic would answer on the next shift as Michal Repik scored five-hole on a breakaway, beating Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Dominik Kubalik would give the Czech Republic their only lead of the game after scoring from the left circle with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.
39 seconds into the second period, Artem Anisimov tied the game up after his shot deflected off a stick and into the back of net.
After the game could not be decided in regulation and overtime, it went to a shootout. Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev scored for Russia while Vasilevskiy stopped every Czech Republic shot he faced, including an attempt from Jakub Vrana that went wide.
“They have probably the best goalie in the world and he helped a bunch today,” Dmitrij Jaskin said. “We had 50 shots, and he let two in. That says it all right there.”
Team Russia mobbed Vasilevskiy after the game. After the IIHF honored the top players from each team, the Russians were given their bronze medals from officials including legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. Alex Ovechkin received his medal second after captain Ilya Kovalchuk, and hugged Jakub Vrana seconds later in the handshake line.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was spotted by IIHF cameras with his new bronze medal.
The Russian national anthem was played.
Then Russia took its team photo.
Photo: Russian Hockey Federation
Alex Ovechkin saluted the Russian fans in attendance at center ice.
The team then left the ice. Dmitry Orlov hugged Kovalchuk.
Inside the locker room, Ovechkin, Orlov, and Kuznetsov took a photo together.
Russia will leave Bratislava and fly back to their home country on Monday. The team asked fans and media to meet them at the Sheremetyevo Airport at Terminal D at 3:20 Moscow time. “Let’s meet the bronze medalists of the World hockey championship together!” the Russian Twitter account said.
🏒🤩 Встретим вместе бронзовых призёров чемпионата мира по хоккею!
Уже завтра, 27 мая, сборная возвращается из Братиславы. Приглашаем болельщиков и представителей СМИ встретить призёров ЧМ: аэропорт Шереметьево (терминал D), 15:20 мск, рейс SU 7321. #снамироссия pic.twitter.com/vlrNsxBTlP
— Хоккей России (@russiahockey) May 26, 2019
The hockey season for Capitals players is now officially over.
Headline photo: Russian Hockey Federation
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