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Russia Wins Hlinka-Gretzky Cup Gold With Convincing Win over Slovakia

Russia has repeated as Hlinka-Gretzky Cup champions thanks to a big 7-2 win over Slovakia in the gold medal game on Saturday.
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Russia has repeated as Hlinka-Gretzky Cup champions thanks to a big 7-2 win over Slovakia in the gold medal game on Saturday.

Russia won the tournament back in 2019, the last year it happened before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 event. Russia has won five gold medals and 18 total pieces of hardware since winning the first event as the Soviet Union in 1991. 

Only Canada (22 gold, 26 medals) have won more at this event, and Russia is the only other team to have more than one gold.

Despite the loss, Slovakia's silver medal is the highest award the nation has achieved at the event they co-host with the Czech Republic, last winning bronze back in 1998.

Sweden finished with the bronze following a comeback effort over Finland.

Despite a competitive first 10 minutes, the Russians would take clear control of the game before the end of the first. At 12:20, Ivan Miroshnichenko's wrister beat Rastislav Elias, with Andrei Malyavin adding a second goal just a minute later.

The Slovaks needed a goal early to set the momentum back in their favor after the Russians scored a late one in the first. Filip Mesar did just that at 7:44, but two minutes later, Miroshnichenko scored again to make it 4-1, with the Slovaks visibly looking dejected.

Mikhail Gulyaev scored again for Russia to make it 5-1. The teams traded goals in the third period, but by then, the damage had already been done and Russia would escape with the win. Matvei Michkov, one of the top prospects for the 2022 draft, scored an empty netter to keep his streak alive of scoring in every game of the tournament to cap off the win.

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