NHL

Sweden beats Russia World Junior final

Johan Larsson (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
Sweden captain Johan Larsson celebrates with the World Junior trophy.
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CALGARY, Alberta (AP)

Mika Zibanejad scored at 10:09 of overtime to give Sweden its second world junior hockey title, 1-0 over Russia on Thursday night.

Punch 'em back

NHL's toughest guys dropped the mitts in the best fights of 2011-2012.

Zibanejad stole the puck from Nikita Gusev at the blue line, broke in on goalie Andrei Makarov - who made 57 saves - and scored on a backhander.

''He came in on the breakaway and I knew he was going to score. He told me this morning he was going to finish this game off,'' Sweden's Jeremy Boyce Rotevall said.

Zibanejad backed up his prediction by beating a seemingly unstoppable Makarov.

''I told (Rotevall) before the overtime, too, so it was good to get that goal,'' Zibanejad said. ''You have to decide if you want to win this. In the morning, it was a joke, but obviously it's not a joke anymore.''

Johan Gustafsson stopped 17 shots for Sweden.

''This team is something special,'' Gustafsson said. ''We really showed that today that we have so much character in this team. It's hard to describe the feeling right now but it's amazing to stand here with the gold medal with these guys.''

Sweden also won the 1981 tournament.

''I was waiting for the referee to do something or review it. I couldn't believe it and haven't really believed in it yet,'' Swedish coach Roger Ronnberg said. ''This is a really big for Sweden. It's really important. We have chased this gold for so many years.''

Russian captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov was selected the tournament MVP and top forward.

''It's nice, but we lose the final, so it doesn't matter really,'' Kuznetsov said. ''It's difficult to say anything because the shot clock after two periods was something like 37-5, so if we win it was unfair according to way the game went. I like the way our team played through the whole tournament.''

In the third-place game, Mark Visentin stopped a second-period penalty shot and made 27 saves in Canada's 4-0 victory over Finland. Quinton Howden scored twice, and Tanner Pearson and Mark Scheifele added goals.

''Obviously, it's disappointing we couldn't play for gold this year,'' Visentin said. ''You know what? We wouldn't have been satisfied with fourth place. I'm not going to say we're satisfied with bronze, but I'm still proud of having a bronze medal in my hand.''

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