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Canada on top of world again

US takes bronze with shootout win

PRAGUE -- This time, Canada was indisputably better.

Tournament MVP Dany Heatley scored once and set up Jay Bouwmeester's winning goal yesterday as Canada rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Sweden in the gold-medal game at the world hockey championships for the second straight year, winning, 5-3.

Canada has won the world title a record 23 times, tying the Soviet Union/Russia.

Sweden was unable to avenge last year's loss in the title game, won by Canada when Anson Carter scored a disputed goal in overtime.

In the bronze-medal game, officials used a video review to determine Andy Roach's high backhand shootout shot hit the top bar inside the net. The goal put the United States ahead, 3-2, in a shootout it would win, 4-2, against Slovakia after the teams were scoreless through three regulation periods and a 10-minute overtime.

Roach, one of the few non-NHL players on the US roster, was the scoring star in the shootout that knocked out the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Unlike Slovakia's Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra, Roach wasn't a household name among US hockey enthusiasts. Gaborik and Demitra, however, were denied yesterday on their shootout bids by former New Hampshire goalie Ty Conklin, who made several dazzling saves in the game.

"I told the coach I wanted to go third [in the shootout] and he picked me," Roach said. "I knew it was in, but I didn't celebrate too much because there were still a couple of shooters left."

All four US shooters who faced Slovakia's Jan Lasak in the shootout scored. Chris Drury and Matt Cullen's tallies kept the US even after Miroslav Satan and Marian Hossa scored. Roach's score sandwiched misses by Demitra and Gaborik, enabling Erik Westrum to secure the win with his goal.

"It was tough after the loss in the semifinals," US coach Peter Laviolette of Franklin, Mass., said of Saturday's loss to Sweden. "The objective was to get the team up for the bronze-medal game. They can be proud of themselves."

It was the first medal at the worlds for the US since 1996 (bronze). The US, which has qualified for the 2006 Winter Olympics, placed 13th last year.

Bouwmeester earned the gold for Canada when he took a perfect pass from Heatley and put a shot between the pads of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Matt Cooke, Rob Niedermayer, and Ryan Smyth also scored for Canada, which captured back-to-back world championships for the first time since the Harry Sinden-captained Whitby Dunlops (1958) and Belleville McFarlands (1959) won representing Canada nearly half a century ago.

Canada's game plan was to stifle Peter Forsberg as much as possible, and Shawn Horcoff's checking line with Niedermayer and Cooke was able to limit the superstar to one assist.

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