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Russia handles Finland, claims world title

Russia forward Alexander Ovechkin celebrates after Russia defeated Finland in the world championship match. (Associated Press)
Russia forward Alexander Ovechkin celebrates after Russia defeated Finland in the world championship match. (Associated Press)

HOCKEY: Star forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin scored 8 minutes apart to lead Russia to a 5-2 victory over Finland in the final of the ice hockey world championship in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday for its second title in three years.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin looking on, Ovechkin tied the game at 2-2 in the second period with a backhand and Malkin wristed a shot high into the roof of the net on a power play for the go-ahead goal. Danis Zaripov also scored a goal and added two assists.

Putin watched the game sitting next to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in the stands, as the Russian team gained a measure of redemption following a painful loss to Finland in the quarterfinals of the Sochi Olympics just three months ago.

It was Russia’s fifth gold since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

“It’s great to win it,” forward Nikolai Kulyomin said. “We were all coming here to win. The Russian team is always playing to win.”

Russia cruised through this tournament, winning all 10 games, scoring the most goals (42) and conceding the least (10).

Earlier, Sweden beat the Czech Republic 3-0 to claim the bronze.

Source: Dave Joerger staying in Memphis

BASKETBALL: A person with knowledge of the situation tells the Associated Press that Dave Joerger has decided to stay in Memphis with the Grizzlies and not go to Minnesota to coach the Timberwolves.

The Wolves interviewed Joerger, who is from Staples, Minnesota, twice in three days last week and had decided that he was the one they wanted to replace the retired Rick Adelman.

• Larkins, January pace Fever victory: Erlana Larkins had 13 points and 22 rebounds while Briann January (Lewis and Clark HS) added 16 points to help the Indiana Fever beat the Atlanta Dream 82-77 in overtime at Atlanta.

Larkins finished two rebounds shy of the WNBA single-game record set by Washington’s Chamique Holdsclaw at Charlotte on May 23, 2003.

Sparks rout Stars: Candace Parker scored 23 points and Kristi Toliver added 15 to help the Los Angeles Sparks rout the visiting San Antonio Stars 83-62.

Parker scored 12 of the Sparks’ first 15 points of the third quarter and the Sparks avoided their worst WNBA start since they began 0-3 in 2010. It was their first home win since they were purchased Feb. 5 by a group that is led by former NBA star Magic Johnson and Dodgers controlling owner Mark R. Walter.

Maryland beats ‘Cuse for NCAA LAX title

Lacrosse: Maryland captured its 11th NCAA women’s lacrosse championship, getting five goals from Beth Glaros in a 15-12 victory over Syracuse in Towson, Maryland.

Kristen Lamon, Taylor Cummings and Brooke Griffin had three goals apiece for the top-seeded Terrapins, whose last championship was won on the same field in 2010.

Maryland let a five-goal lead dwindle to 9-7 early in the second half before using four-goal burst to pull away.

Aru takes 15th stage; Uran retains lead

CYCLING: Fabio Aru of Italy claimed a solo victory on the tough uphill finish to Montecampione in the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia in Montecampione, Italy, for his first Grand Tour victory.

Aru made his move with 2.5 kilometers remaining and finished 21 seconds ahead of Fabio Duarte. Nairo Quintana edged out Pierre Rolland for third place, 22 seconds behind.

Uran extended his advantage over his closest challengers and is 1:03 ahead of Cadel Evans and 1:50 ahead of Rafal Majka.

California Chrome practices at Belmont

HORSE RACING: Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome galloped 2 miles around Belmont Park as part of his preparations for the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

The chestnut colt continued his training, with assistant trainer Alan Sherman saying that California Chrome keeps getting stronger as evidenced by his stride and the weight he’s put on since winning the Preakness a week ago.

California Chrome is trying to become the first horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978. The colt is scheduled for his only official workout next Saturday.