BERN, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Defending champions Russia topped their group at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Switzerland after defending the hosts 4-2 on Tuesday.
After easy victories against Germany 5-0 and France 7-2, both narrowly beaten by the Swiss, the Russian squad got their first real test of the tournament, trailing 2-1 at the end of the first period in front of a noisy home crowd in Berne.
Having led early through Vitaly Atyushov, Russia had to wait until Ilya Kovalchuk's goal 10 minutes into the second period to draw level again, before Alexei Morozov put the 2008 winners ahead for good with some 11 minutes left in the third period after a clinical fast break.
The Swiss struggled furiously in the closing minutes, withdrawing their goalie for an extra attacker, but the Russians' victory was sealed with 15 seconds remaining, with Alexander Perezhogin's empty netter making the final score 4-2.
The Swiss team has not beaten the Russians since 2000, when the world championships were held in St. Petersburg. Since then Russia has won 11 meetings, with the other ending in a tie.