Russia tops Sweden, headed to gold medal final

Sam Cosentino and Shawn McKenzie recap Canada’s performance against Slovakia in the semifinals at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

TORONTO — Alexander Sharov scored twice and Russia beat Sweden 4-1 on Sunday to advance to the title game in the World Junior Hockey Championship.

"It was a matter of scoring," Sharov said. "In the first game (against Sweden, a 3-2 round-robin loss), we had chances and didn’t score."

Canada faced Slovakia in the second semifinal Sunday night. The championship game is Monday night.

Ziat Paigin and Maxim Mamin also scored for Russia and New York Rangers draft pick Igor Shestyorkin made 26 saves. Carolina pick Lucas Wallmark scored for Sweden.

"Our players did a great job in the defence blocking shots and capitalizing on the chances," Shestyorkin said. "Before the game I had expected many more shots, but my teammates did a great job."

Russia won its last title in 2011, beating Canada in Buffalo, New York. In the quarterfinals Friday, Russia beat the United States 3-2.

"We had a couple of pretty hard games against the U.S. and Sweden," forward Ivan Barbashyov said. "We know how to play, and we’ll be playing the same way we played today and two days ago."

Sweden will play the Canada-Slovakia loser in the third-place game.

"We didn’t play our best hockey," captain Jacob de la Rose said. "It’s sad in a big game like this."

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