Czechs stun Russia to snatch world title

By Karolos Grohmann

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - Czech Republic were crowned ice hockey's world champions for the sixth time on Sunday, snapping holders Russia's 27-match winning streak with a 2-1 win in the final.

In front of 19,000 fans in the Cologne Arena, the Czechs took only 20 seconds to grab the lead when 38-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has won the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup as well as Olympic and world championship gold medals, beautifully set up Jakub Klepis.

"This was most likely the biggest surprise in hockey history," Jagr, who ruled out a much-speculated international retirement, told reporters.

"Russia had big names, stars and we had guys who play in the Czech Republic. But this win proves that it is not just talent that matter, you have to work hard," he said.

UNDER PRESSURE

The Russians, led by Alexander Ovechkin, recovered and pounded the Czech goal but netminder Tomas Vokoun was in superb form. Russia's Pavel Datsyuk did put the puck in but it was ruled to have happened a second after the end of the first period.

Russia kept the Czechs on the back foot throughout the second period but a minute before the end their opponents struck again.

Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov collided, allowing Karel Rachunek to fire the puck to Tomas Rolinek who deflected it into the net for the Czechs' second goal.

In a desperate attempt to turn the game around, the Russians poured forward in a hard-hitting third period with Datsyuk cutting the deficit 35 seconds from the end to set up a dramatic finale.

"We expected more in this tournament," stern-faced Russia coach Vyacheslav Bykov told reporters. "But today just was not our day."

Earlier, Sweden beat Germany 3-1 in the bronze-medal match, denying the hosts their first world championship medal since 1953, and taking third place for the second year running.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)