Archive for WJC – Sweden

Finns Triumph On Swedish Soil, Celebrate Third Title At World Junior Championships


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An enterprising little solo skate along the goal line by an ambitious defenseman deep in the offensive zone led to directly to the deciding strike nearing the halfway point of the twenty-minute overtime session and permitted underdog FINLAND to complete a dramatic 3-2 victory over long-time arch-rival SWEDEN in the GOLD MEDAL GAME of the 2014 IIHF World Championships at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Goaltender JUUSE SAROS of HPK Hameenlinna was, perhaps, the real star of the show as Finland celebrated just its third title ever in the 37-year history of the planet’s premier tournament for teenagers. The 18-year-old who was plucked by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft seven months ago, proved instrumental for a counterattack-minded Suomi all throughout the contest and ended up stopping 35 of 37 Swedish shots. Aside from the coveted gold medal, Saros was also awarded a place on the competition’s official All-Star squad after appearing in six of Finland’s seven games (1.57 avg, .943 svpct) in Malmo.

The Finns, who avenged the earlier 4-2 loss to their western neighbors in the round robin phase of this year’s tournament but still trail in the all-time series record between the two countries at the IIHF World Junior Championships (the Swedes have 15 wins against 14 losses and a pair of draws), actually required only 28 seconds to get on the scoreboard in the all-Scandinavian Gold Medal Game at the Malmo Arena. A long wrist shot from the left point by Finland defenseman ESA LINDELL, the third round choice (# 74 overall) of the Dallas Stars at the 2012 NHL Draft, somehow eluded Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK, the second round choice (# 31 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the very same 2012 NHL Draft. It was an uncharacteristic mistake from Dansk, the 19-year-old native of Stockholm who would ultimately be named the tournament’s Best Goaltender by the IIHF Directorate for his distinguished efforts throughout the Malmo tournament (6 ga, 1.79 avg, .929 svpct) on behalf of Tre Kronor throughout the entire Malmo tournament.

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Sweden had won all six of its contests at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships going into the Gold Medal Game on home ice in Malmo and were eager to celebrate its third title in history. Tre Kronor had also defeated its historical nemesis Suomi five times in succession at the World Juniors — Finland had not defeated Sweden since 2006 and had been soundly thrashed 9-2 the last time the two teams skated on the same sheet of Swedish ice in 1993 at Gavle. So it should come as no great surprise that Tre Kronor twice managed to level terms (albeit with the aid of power plays) after falling behind to the Finns at the Malmo Arena.

Still, less than ten minutes remained in regulation time when Sweden defenseman CHRISTIAN DJOOS of IF Brynas Gavle, the seventh round selection (# 195 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft, found the back of the net with a seeing-eye laser from the point that magically eluded a maze of players in front before tucking neatly into the top right hand corner. And the Swedes never were able to produce a winner for the home folks in the country’s third-largest city despite maintaing consistent pressure against Finland. Left wing FILIP FORSBERG, the 19-year-old who has already skated in a dozen NHL contests (one goal, four assists) for the Nashville Predators this season, was a shadow of the prolific player who had averaged two points per game in Sweden’s first six contests at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo.

And so, it was left for Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN, the promising 19-year-old native of Turku whom the Buffalo Sabres made the eighth overall player chosen at the 2012 NHL Draft, to settle epic clash with its traditional arch-rival after almost ten minutes of overtime. TEUVO TARAVAINEN of Jokeit Helsinki, the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2012 NHL Draft who assisted on all three of Finland’s goals during this Gold Medal Game, started a wraparound play and Ristolainen was able to pickup the puck at the goal line along the boards on the right. Unchallenged, the Finnish rearguard simply headed straight for the net and skillfully stickhanded past the Swedish duo of the pre-occupied defenseman ROBERT HAGG from Mo Do Ornskolsvik and the particularly passive center ELIAS LINDHOLM from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricane before forcing the puck through the pads of the Tre Kronor custodian Dansk.

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Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN (5) from the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans slips the puck just under the right pad of Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK to score the always-rare “Golden Goal” almost halfway through the overtime session of the Gold Medal Game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championshps in Malmo, Sweden.
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January 5, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Gold Medal Game
Malmo Arena : Attendance : 12,023

FINLAND 3 – SWEDEN 2 … (overtime)

00:28 … FIN – Lindell (Maenalanen, Teravainen)
27:53 … SWE – Wallmark (Bengtsson, Djoos) – ppg
28:38 … FIN – Maenalanen (Teravainen, Lehkonen)
50:53 … SWE – Djoos (Wallmark, Collberg) – ppg
69:42 … FIN – Ristolainen (Teravainen, Vainonen)

shots-on-goal : SWE 37 (12 + 14 + 6 + 5) – FIN 31 (11 + 7 + 7 + 6)

penalty minutes : FIN 12 – SWE 4

referees : Papp (Canada) and Stricker (Switzerland)

SWEDEN : Dansk – Djoos, Arnesson ; Bengtsson, Olofsson ; Norell, Hagg – Johnson, Wennberg, Collberg ; Forsberg, Lindholm, de la Rose ; Burakowsky, Wallmark, Sorensen ; E. Karlsson, Sundqvist, Sandberg ; A. Karlsson

FINLAND : Saros – Lindell, Pokka ; Lehtonen, Ristolainen ; Honka, Vaionen ; Vainio – Lehkonen, Teravainen, Maenalanen ; Nikko, Mustonen, Haapala ; Nattinen, Kinnunen, J. Ikonen ; H. Ikonen, Rauhala, Leskinen

Notes — Sweden were without suspended defenseman JESPER PETTERSSON of HC Linkoping while the Finns also only suited up 19 skaters

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Host Sweden Staves Off Hard-Charging Russia In WJC Semi-Final


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A first period power play strike, a breakaway goal early in the final frame as well as consistently strong goaltending all throughout the match proved itself to be the winning combination for Tre Kronor as host SWEDEN edged RUSSIA 2-1 in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships semifinal contest watched by the crowd of 11,725 spectators at the Malmo Arena.

The result marked the ninth time that Sweden has defeated Russia at the annual tournament for the planet’s very best players under 20 years of age in the last ten meetings between the two countries. The triumph also means that the unbeaten squad of head coach RIKARD GRONBORG will have the distinct advantage of skating on home ice in the upcoming Gold Medal Match. The Swedes, who have now won all six of their games here in Malmo this winter, have only ever won the title at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships twice before — in 1981 at tournament held in Fuessen, West Germany, and again in 2012 at the competition staged in the western Canadian cities of Calgary and Edmonton.

The Russians, who had come from behind to defeat the United States at the quarterfinal stage, probably created the better chances in the first twenty minutes but were made to pay dearly after defenseman NIKITA TRYAMKIN from Kontinental Hockey League club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg went to the sin bin for holding and then right wing ALEXANDER BARABANOV from second division side VMF-Karelija St. Petersburg was given a penalty for delaying the game. Technically speaking, Tryamkin’s sentence had been served but, in reality, the Swedes were still enjoying a two-man advantage in the offensive zone when left wing FILIP FORSBERG from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League netted his fourth goal at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships with only 49 seconds left in the opening period. A brilliant pass from center ELIAS LINDHOLM of the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes, the fifth overall player selected at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer who has now has seven assists in six games for Sweden at this tournament in Malmo, had made it all possible.

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Sweden left wing FILIP FORSBERG (16), the eleventh overall player selected at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft who registered one goal and five points while skating in twelve games for the Nashville Predators in the National Hockey League at the beginning of this 2013/14 season, is currently tied at the very top of the scoring chart for this year’s IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo with the total of twelve points.
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The flow of the game also seemed to favor the Russians in the second session with head coach MIKHAIL VARNKOV’s troops providing more support to the puck carrier while seemingly a step quicker in all races for the little black disc, as well. But Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK, the 19-year-old native of Stockholm who currently turns out for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system, continued the sensational sort of stuff (5 ga, 1.60 avg, .935 svpct) that he has shown off all tournament long. And the Russian power play, which had been so lethal to the Americans at the quarterfinal stage and had come into this semifinal round ranked first at this tournament here in Malmo, was absent without leave.

The Swedish playmaker Lindholm was assessed a double minor for high sticking very late in the second period but the Russians, who won the bronze medal on home ice in Ufa at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, did nothing with the resulting four minutes of time on the man advantage.

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This particular power play failure proved to be pivotal because, not all that long after the release of Lindholm from the penalty box, the ambitious Swedes scored again to double their lead roughly five minutes into the third period. A long stretch pass from ERIK KARLSSON, the HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg left wing who was chosen in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, allowed OSKAR SUNDQVIST from defending Swedish elite league champion AIK Skelleftea to get behind an otherwise diligent Russian defensive corps at the blue line. And a nice little deke coupled with a rising backhander left Russia netminder ALEXEI VASILEVSKI of KHL side Salavat Yulayev Ufa, the first round choice (# 19 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2012 NHL Draft, absolutely no chance.

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Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK (35) from the OHL’s Erie Otters focuses rather sharply as Russia left wing DAMIR ZHAFRAYOV (11), the 19-year-old native of Moscow who has scored a respectable seven goals in 29 Kontinental Hockey League games for Metallurg Novokuznetsk so far this term, seeks to back hand the puck in front of the net during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships semi-final match at the Malmo Arena.
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Immediately, Sweden made the thorough transition into an all-out defensive posture and would not be so concerned with venturing forward for the remainder of the contest. The Russians obviously had no alternatives other than to ramp up its attack posthaste but got a bit lucky less than two minutes later when a very sharp angle shot from DAMIR KHAFRAYOV from KHL club Metallurg Novokuznetsk was somehow permitted find the back of the net by the otherwise outstanding Dansk. With the deficit now halved, a proper siege of the Swedish cage could begin in earnest.

MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, the Russians’ leading sniper with four goals at this year’s World Junior Championships, was largely invisible in the first two periods but suddenly appeared and generated three shots on target with the time running out. Captain ANTON SLEPYSHEV from KHL side Salavat Yulayev Ufa, the third round selection (# 88 overall) of the Edmonton Oilers at the 2013 NHL Draft, was, in fact, able to beat the Swedish goaltender but saw his effort clank off the iron. The in-form Dansk committed grand larceny when he saved from center BOGDAN YAKIMOV, another player who was reserved in the third round (# 83 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, at very close range with only about three minutes left.

The Russians were able to exchange their goaltender for a sixth attacker but could not muster an equalizer and will have to appear in the Bronze Medal Game for the second consecutive year. For the second time in as many matches in Malmo, the Russians became entangled in extra-curricular activities at the conclusion of a IIHF World Junior Championships engagement. Also, a scuffle bloodied the nose of one Russian player and could end up in the banishment of another Swedish skater from the upcoming Gold Medal Game.

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THE CONCLUDING CHAOS — Rough-housing Sweden defenseman JESPER PETTERSSON of HC Linkoping could find himself in hot water with the official IIHF Disciplinary Panel and, as a result, be suspended from the Gold Medal Game on Sunday … Pettersson (# 6, far right) charged straight out of the penalty box right at the conclusion of the semifinal contest at the Malmo Arena and literally launched himself into an alteration which had already begun along the boards. The unfortunate target of Pettersson’s flying body blow was Russia defenseman ANDREI MIRONOV, whose lower body is visible at the far right in the above photo. Mironov, the 19-year-old who skates in the Kontinental Hockey League for Dynamo Moscow, is engaged in a wrestling match with Sweden center ELIAS LINDHOLM (# 19) from the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League.
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January 4, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championship – Quarterfinal
Malmo Arena : Attendance : 11,725

SWEDEN 2 – RUSSIA 1

19:11 … SWE – Forsberg (Lindholm) – ppg)
44:55 … SWE – Sundqvist (Arnesson, E. Karlsson)
46:37 … RUS – Zhafrayov (Barbanov)

shots-on-goal : RUS 27 (10 + 7 + 10) – SWE 21 (10 + 8 + 3)

penalty minutes : SWE 14 – RUS 10

referees : Boman (Finland) and Hradil (Czech Republic)

SWEDEN : Dansk – Djoos, Arnesson ; Pettersson, Olofsson ; Norell, Hagg ; Bengtsson – Johnson, Wennberg, Collberg ; Forsberg, Lindholm, de la Rose ; Burakowsky, Wallmark, Sorensen ; E. Karlsson, Sundqvist, Sandberg ; A. Karlsson

RUSSIA : Vasilevski – Mironov, Zadorov ; Lyubushkin, Tryamkim ; Bereglazov, Maslov ; Vasiliev – Slepyshev, Grigorenko, Buchnevich ; Zhafyanov, Osnovin, Barabanov ; Barbashev, Yakimov, Khlopotov ; Zykov, Buratov, Gimatov ; Skadnichenko

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Swedes Stifle Americans In WJC Tune-Up


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Sweden netminder OSKAR DANSK (35), the 19-year-old native of Stockholm who was chosen in the second round (# 31 overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets and now plays in the Canadian junior system with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, follows the puck in the corner as veteran United States winger RILEY BARBER (11) of Miami University, one of only three holdovers from the American team which won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships last winter, looks to battle his way through the Tre Kronor defensive wall during the international exhibition match at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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A forward line combination familiar from skating together this season in the country’s senior elite league accounted for all of the goals scored by the home side as counterattacking SWEDEN undid the visiting UNITED STATES 4-2 in an international exhibition contest just ahead of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

The Americans actually outshot the Swedes by a considerable margin throughout the entire game but it was the hosts who struck for two unanswered goals in the first period of play. Left wing ANDREAS JOHNSON of HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg, the seventh round selection (# 202 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, netted on the power play seven minutes in and linemate ALEXANDER WENNBERG, the first round pick (# 14 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, doubled Sweden’s advantage just 21 seconds before the first intermission arrived. The United States saw their first twenty-one shots on target in the first forty minutes turned aside by Swedish netminder OSKAR DANSK but finally broke through when right wing RYAN HARTMAN from the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, one of only three holdovers from the American squad which won the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia and the first round choice (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, scored a little less than two minutes into the final frame.

Sweden right wing SEBASTIAN COLLBERG, the third member of the HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg trio and a second round choice (# 33 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2012 NHL Draft, left the Americans with a mountain to climb after scoring on rocket shot from the face-off circle after a nifty solo rush into the offensive zone at the fourteen-minute mark of the last period. Johnson applied the finishing touches for the Swedes by grabbing his second power play goal of the game roughly three and a half minutes later. DANNY O’REGAN, the sophomore center from Boston University who was tabbed in the fifth round (# 138 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, salvaged a measure of pride for the United States by pulling one back for the United States with less than sixty seconds to play.

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Sweden right wing SEBASTIAN COLLBERG (15), the 19-year-old who made two appearances in the American Hockey League for the Hamilton Bulldogs last spring, has already signed a professional contract with the National Hockey League’s storied Montreal Canadiens franchise but is spending this entire 2013/14 campaign out on loan to HC Vastra Froluna Gothenburg of the Swedish elite league … United States left wing STEFAN MATTEAU (23), the first round selection of the New Jersey Devils at the 2012 NHL Draft, made seventeen appearances (one goal, two assists) in the crack NHL at the tail end of last season but has spent this entire term skating in the American Hockey League for the Albany Devils.
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December 20, 2013
Angelholm Arena – Malmo, Sweden

SWEDEN 4 – UNITED STATES 2

06:54 … SWE – A. Johnson (A. Wennberg, S. Collberg) – ppg
19:39 … SWE – A. Wennberg (A. Johnson)
41:43 … USA – R. Hartman (I. McCoshen)
54:00 … SWE – Collberg (C. Djoos, A. Wennberg)
57:25 … SWE – A. Johnson (C. Djoos, A. Wennberg) – ppg
59:04 … USA – D. O’Regan (J. Slavin, R. Barber)

shots-on-goal : USA 38 (11 + 12 + 15) – SWE 23 (6 + 6 + 11)

penalty minutes : USA 12 – SWE 8

UNITED STATES : Stolarz – Skjei, Pesce ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Butcher, Santini ; Slavin, Carrick – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Stepan, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Di Pauli, Shore, Samulesson ; Hinostroza

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United States goaltender ANTHONY STOLARZ (29), the 19-year-old native of Jackson, New Jersey, who made eight appearances (2.56 avg, .898 svpct) for the University of Nebraska – Omaha last season before bolting to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system just after the New Year, was the second round pick (# 45 overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 NHL Draft.

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