Team Canada's Shane Doan reacts following their 5-4 loss in overtime to Team Russia in the gold medal game at the IIHF World Hockey Championship Sunday, May 18, 2008 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
QUEBEC - The first ever IIHF World Hockey Championship to be played in Canada ended in silver for the host country after a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Russia on Sunday in the gold-medal game.
Ilya Kovalchuk's power-play goal at 2:42 of overtime gave the Russians their first gold medal at the event since 1993.
The result left disappointed a partisan crowd of 13,338 at Le Colisee Pepsi that hoped to watch Canada become the first home nation to win the championship since the Soviet Union in 1986.
"Right now we are the champions of the world and it feels so great," said Russian winger Alex Ovechkin. "It's really special to win here because this is hockey and it's a hockey-mad country.
"It just feels wonderful. It feels so great."
It looked good for the Canadians through 40 minutes, when they built a 4-2 lead on a pair of goals from defenceman Brent Burns plus singles from Ryan Getzlaf and Dany Heatley.
But the Russians tied it in the third period, getting goals from Alexei Tereshchenko and Kovalchuk to force the extra period.
"You get a game into overtime, it's flip a coin," said Canadian head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We all know that. We've all been in these games before."
Bad luck struck the Canadians just 1:55 in when forward Rick Nash accidentally shot the puck over the glass, resulting in an automatic penalty.
That set the stage for Kovalchuk, the talented goal-scorer who hadn't put a puck in the net all tournament before doing it twice in the final.
His second goal ended Canada's 17-game win streak dating back to last year's gold medal win in Moscow.
Regardless, there was lots for Canada to be proud of.
Heatley was named the tournament's most valuable player and top forward, while Brent Burns took top defenceman honours.
"We're very disappointed right now in our room," Heatley said. "We had a two-goal lead going into the third period.
"I thought we played really well up to then. I thought we gave them a little too much room in the third period and they've got some really good shooters over there."
Heatley was also named to the tournament all-star team, along with defenceman Mike Green and Nash.
And the event drew the third-most number of fans ever at a world championship with 477,584 attending the games in Halifax and Quebec City.