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Malkin leads Russia to victorious start at hockey worlds

Published time: May 06, 2012 07:46
Edited time: May 06, 2012 12:24
Russian team player Evgeny Malkin rejoice after scoring a goal in the group 2012 World Hockey Championship match between the national teams of Latvia and Russia. (RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov)

Russian team player Evgeny Malkin rejoice after scoring a goal in the group 2012 World Hockey Championship match between the national teams of Latvia and Russia. (RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov)

Russia has got off to a winning start at the ice hockey world championships. A brace and an assist from Evgeny Malkin helped them overcome Latvia 5-2 in Stockholm.

Going into the game, in the post-Soviet era of World Championship competition, Russia had beaten Latvia twice (7-5 in 1998, 6-1 in 2009) and lost twice (3-2 in 2000, 2-1 in 2003).

And Latvia had taken a shock-lead through Miks Indrashis midway through the first period. But Ilya Nikulin equalized early in the second, before Malkin's double and further strikes from Aleksandr Popov and Evgeny Kuznetsov gave Russia a 5-2 victory.

"The first part of the game was not so good for us, but a few quick goals made everything okay for us, and then we took the game into our hands," Russian helmsman Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said after the game.

Latvia's forward Janis Sprukts also admitted the beginning of the second period was deciding."When they took the lead, it broke us down a bit mentally, and we could not come back like we wanted," he said.

There is no time to rest for Russia though as they take on hard nuts Norway on Sunday evening.

In other Saturday games, the USA edged Olympic champions Canada in overtime, 5-4.There were also wins for Switzerland and Sweden against Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic respectively.