Winter Olympics: Ice hockey - Blood on the ice as Czechs and Kazakhs come to blows

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THE ice hockey game with the fewest NHL players produced the most violence as the Czech Republic beat Kazakhstan 8-2. Physical play by the Kazakhs degenerated into stick-swinging and open hostility as blows were exchanged and blood spilled. A total of 83 minutes in penalties was handed out.

"I've never seen slashing and hacking like that. It started from the beginning and kept up until the end.'' said the Czech, Petr Svoboda, who was involved in a last-minute altercation himself.

In one incident midway through the third period, the Czech forward David Moravec had his face cut when he was struck with an elbow to the head and a stick to the face by two Kazakhs.

The Russian world champions, Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Platov edged towards a second ice dance title when their jive to "Jailhouse Rock" earned them a narrow decision in the original programme over their compatriots, Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov. However, if the latter pair win tonight's free dance, the scores would be tied but they would be champions by dint of winning the free.

Ids Potsma added a gold medal to his 1500 metres speedskating silver when he won the men's 1,000m title. The Dutchman won in an Olympic record 1min 10.64sec. The Games have seen a leap forward - the time set by the American, Dan Jensen, at Lillehammer four years ago, was broken by the first 17 skaters home yesterday.

Canada's Pierre Lueders and David MacEachern shared the two-man bobsleigh title in a dead heat with Italy's Gunther Huber and Antonio Tartaglia. The Canadians' medal was the first by a non-European country since 1952, when the United States were second - and the first gold by non-Europeans since the Americans won in 1936.