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Russia to battle Slovakia for gold medal at Worlds

Russia and Slovakia will play in the gold medal game on Sunday at the 2012 World Championship.

In the first semifinal game on Saturday, Evgeni Malkin recorded a hat trick to lift Russia over Finland, 6-2.

Malkin hurt his left arm after falling into the boards in the second period, but came back to help Russia finish off the reigning gold medalist.

Sergei Shirokov had a goal and an assist for the Russians, who will try to capture their first world title since 2009. Alexander Ovechkin and Denis Kokarev also lit the lamp.

Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for Russia.

Janne Niskala and Mikael Granlund scored for Finland, which beat Sweden in last year's title match. Petri Vehanen stopped 17-of-23 shots.

It looked good for Finland early on, with Niskala scoring 7:28 into the first period.

But the Russians showed why they went undefeated in preliminary-round action by scoring six unanswered goals.

Malkin, the reigning NHL scoring champion and current tournament points leader, put home a rebound at the 15:33 mark to make it a 1-1 game.

With just 54 seconds to play in the first, Malkin fired home a shot from the slot for a 2-1 lead.

After Ovechkin made it 3-1 at the 9:47 mark of the second, Malkin came back from his injury to complete his hat trick. Malkin's one-timer from the top of the right circle sailed past Vehanen with 2:14 to go.

Shirokov and Kokarev scored in the third period for Russia, while Granlund lit the lamp for Finland.

Miroslav Satan scored twice, including a short-handed goal early in the third period, as Slovakia beat the Czech Republic by a 3-1 margin.

Libor Hudacek also lit the lamp for Slovakia, which will try to capture its first world title since 2002. Jan Laco made 36 saves.

Michael Frolik scored the lone goal for the Czech Republic, which will play Finland for the bronze medal on Sunday.

With the game tied at one, Satan scored his short-handed goal just 56 seconds into the third stanza. While the Czechs were moving the puck around in the Slovaks end, Michal Handzus made a nice pokecheck. Satan gathered the puck and went the other way on a breakaway. He made a good deke before finding the back of the net for a 2-1 edge.

Hudacek essentially put the game away at the 4:23 mark of the final period.