COLOGNE – Jonas Andersson's goals early and late in the third period held up as Sweden beat Germany 3-1 in the bronze-medal game this afternoon. It was the second straight year the Swedes finished third.
"It took as a couple of hours to get over the disappointment of missing the final," Andersson admitted of the loss yesterday to the Czech Republic. "But we had too many good guys on the team not to give our best. We had higher goals coming into the tournament, but, of course, it's nice to go home with a medal."
Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (Sweden) and Alexander Barta (Germany) scored the other goals in a tame affair in which only five minor penalties were called (two for delay of game). Andersson added an empty netter with 33.6 seconds left.
"We're disappointed, but I hope our success is good for the country," said Felix Schutz in defeat.
The crowd barely had a chance to get settled when Sweden opened the scoring. Christian Backman drilled a pass from behind his goal line to Pääjärvi-Svensson cutting through centre ice. He took the pass in full flight, whizzed by defenceman Alexander Sulzer, and beat Dennis Endras with a shot that squirted under the goalie’s arm just 2:56 into the game.
Midway through the period, the Germans had their best chance when Michael Wolf took a stretch pass between the two Swedish defenceman and drove in alone on Jonas Gustavsson. Wolf’s shot, though, was right to the belly of the goalie and didn’t pose much of a challenge.
The first 16 minutes of the second period was perfect “Sweden with a lead” hockey. Teams skated up and down the ice, the clock ticked quickly off, and not much happened. The Swedes didn’t penetrate the Germany defence too often, but they also permitted precious few decent shots.
All of that changed on one rush up ice by the Germans. Alexander Barta came on over the blueline and got a shot off. Gustafsson made the save, but he lost sight of the puck, as did his defencemen. Barta claimed the loose puck himself, outwaited the goalie as he moved into the slot, and fired a shot to the top corner. Despite being outshot 30-14 through two periods, teams headed to the dressing room in a 1-1 game.
Sweden went ahead 2-1 at 3:57 of the third on a lucky goal. Jonas Andersson streaked down the right wing, stopped below the hash marks, and wristed a shot on goal. The puck squeezed between Endras’s pads and in, a routine shot he should have stopped.
Endras left the net with about a minute and a half left, but the Germans couldn't tie the game and Andersson added one into the empty net. And then came one of the strangest moments one could see.
Bengt-Ake Andersson, coaching Tre Kronor for the final time, called a timeout with a faceoff in his end and just 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Fans began to jeer, wondering why the coach would prolong a game that the team had won, but he made a goalie change, inserting Anders Lindback for the first time this tournament. The linesman dropped the puck, and Lindback now is officially part of this 2010 bronze-medal team, with one second played to his credit.
"I feel great about our team," said Germany's Marcel Goc. Still, I think everybody on the team is disappointed because we were so close to a medal. It's tough right now, but I think it'll give a push to German ice hockey. When we look back on this in a few days or weeks, we'll realize what we did here."
Indeed, Germany gave its home fans many thrills this tournament.