By Tom Degun

Russia ice sledge hockeyNovember 17 - Russia's ice sledge hockey team have given themselves a major boost ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics as they claimed the gold medal with a 1-0 win over Sweden in the final of the 2012 IPC B Pool World Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.

In an intense defensive battle that came down to the final period, Russia came out on top in the gold-medal game despite having only started their ice sledge hockey programme two years ago shortly after Sochi won the right to stage the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

All it took was one goal from Engeny Petrov in the final period of the tournament to help Russia leave undefeated in the B Pool World Championships which marked a significant improvement on their disappointing seventh-place finish at the 2011 European Championships.

"It was good what we've done with the programme," said Russian head coach Sergey Samoylov following the win.

"We've just begun this kind of sport in Russia and it's great to be promoted from Pool B to Pool A in just a few years.

"It's now our next task to compete with the world's best in the A Pool and then in Sochi."

The Russians almost had a couple of goals earlier, but Petrov's shot at a wide-open net with 11 minutes left in the second period went wide and Ivan Kuznetsov's attempt nearly five minutes later banked off the post.

Russia outshot Sweden in the game, 20-9, with Niklas Ingvarsson leading the silver medallists' effort with four shots on goal.

Vadium SelyukinVadium Selyukin captained Russia to World Championships success only a few years after the country's sledge hockey programme was launched

But as both reached the final in Novi Sad, Russia and Sweden will now move to the A Pool for next season.

Meanwhile Germany won the bronze-medal game after dominating Poland 8-1 as Sebastian Kessler netted a hat trick and had 12 shots on goal and team captain Frank Rennhack notched a goal to go along with his top aggressive play on the defensive end.

"We thought we would be leaving here going to the A Pool but that's not the way it went," Rennhack said.

"It was tough at the beginning, especially our first game against Russia, but then we got better and it was good to finish in third place with a win today."

The contest started off a close battle, with top defensive efforts from both sides until Kessler scored his first goal of the night five minutes into the second period.

Sylwester Flis immediately responded with a goal for Poland but then Jacob Wolff broke open the scoring charge for Germany just two minutes later.

"Within the span of five minutes, Wolff, Bas Disveld, Udo Segreff and Kessler all scored for Germany to make it 5-1.

Another goal by Kessler, a score by Rennhack and one by Bernhard Hering in the third period helped Germany ease their way to bronze.

Lars Uhlemann and Simon Kunst shared the goalkeeping duties for the winning side, combining to record 11 saves.

Ice sledge hockey is one of six sports that will appear at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.

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