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France stun title holders Russia at hockey worlds

© AFP

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2013-05-09

France beat defending ice hockey world champions Russia 2-1 on Thursday, ending the team's 13-match winning streak and marking one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history.

Defending world champion Russia lost to France 2-1 on Thursday in one of the biggest upsets in ice hockey history.

A team stacked with NHL and KHL players bowed to a group of mainly French league players who ended Russia’s 13-match winning streak at the world championship.

“It’s so big for French hockey it’s hard to describe,” France coach Dave Henderson said.

France wasn’t good enough to play Russia or the Soviet Union until 1992, and had lost all six previous games, the last by 7-2 in 2009.

All the goals on Thursday were scored in the middle period. Alexander Perezhogin gave Russia the lead at 6:57, shortly after teammate Aleksandr Radulov missed a penalty shot. France forward Damien Fleury evened the score at 9:52 with a slap shot. Antoine Roussel, France’s lone NHL player, scored the winner at 16:48 when he broke in from the left and backhanded through Vasili Koshechkin’s legs.

Both teams fielded their third-string goalkeepers. France’s Florian Hardy finished with 28 saves, and Koshechkin 17.

“It was my first start, an unbelievably good result for us,” Hardy said. “I don’t know what to say, I’m so happy. When I watched the clock with five minutes to play, I thought that this is for real, that it is possible to win.

“All the team played an unbelievable game defensively. When the Russian player took the penalty shot and I stopped it, I just followed the puck and that was it.”

France’s second win in four games gives it a good chance of staying in the premier group at the worlds, and an outside chance of making the quarterfinals with a top-four finish in its group. It still has to play the United States, Latvia and Germany.

In Stockholm, the Czech Republic beat Denmark 2-1 after a shootout, with Zbynek Irgl scoring on his team’s fifth and sixth shots.

Zbynek Michalek scored in the last period for the Czechs and Morten Poulsen tied the game with four minutes to go.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-05-09

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