Team Canada wins second straight gold medal

PRAGUE (CP) - The Lucky Loonies were hard at work again Sunday as Canada won its second straight world hockey championship.

Team Canada officials secretly hid a loonie in the back netting of both goals at Sazka Arena for Sunday's gold-medal game at the men's world hockey championship, which Canada won 5-3 over Sweden. The same two loonies were also hidden in the nets for the women's world championship team in Halifax two months ago as well as Canada's Spengler Cup championship team in late December.

Florida Panthers defenceman Jay Bouwmeester scored the winner 20 seconds into the third period Sunday to give Canada the victory. The Canadian team also defeated Sweden to win the world title last year.

"They say that repeating is the hardest thing and I have to agree with that. It's a tough thing," said Canadian captain Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers. "We're not only proud of ourselves but we're proud of the Canadians back at home who supported us."

Matt Cooke of the Vancouver Canucks, Rob Niedermayer of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Dany Heatley of the Atlanta Thrashers and Smyth also scored for Canada, who captured back-to-back world championships for the first time since the Whitby Dunlops in 1958 and Belleville McFarlands in 1959.

The back-to-back gold medals also give Canada four world titles since 1977.

But the tournament got off to a rocky start.

On the eve of the team's first game, Canadian head coach Joel Quenneville fell ill and was replaced with assistant Mike Babcock. Canada then opened the event with a 2-2 tie to lowly Austria, barely beat France 3-0 and was later crushed 6-2 by the Czech Republic in the final round-robin game.

"I know a lot of people didn't really believe in us in the beginning, but we came through and that's what counts," said Canadian goalie Roberto Luongo, who kept his team in many games.

Heatley was named MVP of the tournament.