Most of the victims were players and officials of Russian team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, who were flying to a Continental Hockey League (KHL) match in Belarussian capital Minsk.

"We dedicate this victory to their memory and we mourn with the whole country," Russia's power forward Semen Antonov told a news conference.

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"It's a huge pain, eternal memory for the boys and may they rest in peace," he said.

Russia's American coach David Blat added: "Many citizens of the world were on that team, not just Russians, and as sportsmen they are our brothers and sisters."

"We played the game to honour them and my condolences and compassion are for the families of all the victims of that terrible tragedy."

On the court, the Russians booked a quarter-final berth with two games to spare after an effervescent performance by several players stretched their perfect record to six wins.

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko led Russia with 14 points and four rebounds as the 2007 European champions blew away the Finns with tough defence which produced an avalanche of fast breaks and easy points.

Aleksey Shved scored 12 points while Andrey Vorontsevich and Timofey Mozgov added 11 each for the Russians, who entertained the fans to several spectacular alley-hoops and slam dunks.

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