Comeback gets Swedes to semis

U18s: Canucks lose first game 4-2, USA routs Germany 7-3

EnergieVerbund Arena Dresden  Germany

Sweden's Linus Froberg #28 opened the scoring for Team Sweden in the third period. His teammates added three more to complete the comeback. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images

CRIMMITSCHAU/DRESDEN – It came down to the final matchup of the preliminary round to decide the winner of Group B, and in a tight game the Swedes were able to come back with four goals in the third period to win 4-2. Canada, who lost their first game of the tournament, will play against Germany in Crimmitschau on Thursday.

The Germans lost to the USA 7-3, but Russia’s earlier win against the Swiss means that Switzerland is sent to the relegation round along with Slovakia, while Germany secures third place and a quarter-final match-up against Canada.

Finland reached the quarter-finals after a 5-3 win against the Czech Republic that sends the Czechs to relegation-round play. The Finns will face Russia in the quarter-finals.

Canada vs. Sweden 2-4 (1-0, 0-0, 1-4) Game Sheet Photos

DRESDEN – The competitive rivalry between these two teams was apparent even before the game, as a Canadian and a Swedish player began the match in the penalty box for crossing the red line and getting in each other’s face during the warmup.

Sweden was enjoying the majority of the scoring chances in the first period, outshooting the Canadians and putting pressure on goaltender Malcolm Subban. However, a momentary lapse in concentration was all Canada needed to turn the tables. Forward Nick Cousins intercepted a Swedish defender’s pass at the point and took off for the Swedish net, beating goaltender Niklas Lundstrom on the breakaway for the first goal of the game.

The second period was a defensive affair, with Sweden getting two great chances to equalize. The first came when a penalty shot was awarded to Sweden’s William Karlsson after he was taken down by a Canadian player while on a breakaway. However, Subban was able to extend his pad and stop the puck as Karlsson tried to slide it across and in. Subban then made another great save shortly after on a penalty kill, and the Swedes were forced to go into the locker room still down by a goal.

Canada seemed to be on their way to a victory early in the third period, when Ryan Murphy streaked into the Swedish zone, beat a defender and fired a quick shot below the glove of the Swedish netminder to score. However, Sweden replied with a score of its own less than twenty seconds after the ensuing faceoff, courtesy of forward Linus Froberg. 

The goal energized the Swedish attack, and midway through the third period forward Gustav Bjorklund fought his way through two Canadian defenders and got a wristshot past Subban to tie the game. Subban then let in another goal soon after, this time off a shot from the point by Swedish captain Oscar Klefbom. Sweden would add an empty netter to close the game and send itself directly to the semifinals.

USA vs. Germany 7-3 (2-0, 4-2, 1-1) Game Sheet Photos

CRIMMITSCHAU – a 7-3 win against Germany, the defending champions United States can take a few days off and enjoy a bye directly to the semifinals. For the Germans, an earlier loss by Switzerland to Russia means that they have already locked up a place in the playoff round, much to the happiness of their hockey-mad supporters in Crimmitschau.

Reid Boucher and JT Miller of the US both got on the scoring sheet in the first period, assisting on each other’s goals and putting their team up by two. Germany brought the game to within a goal twice in the second period, the first on a power play goal by Sebastian Uvira and an even-strength score by Daniel Fisbuch.

However the Americans lit the scoring lamp four more times in the second period to give themselves a comfortable lead going into the third. Leonard Pfoderl added another power play tally for Germany, but the Germans weren’t able to get any closer on the scoreboard. Now, still missing top scorer Tobias Rieder who’s out with an injury, they will have to reload and prepare to host the Canadians in the quarter-finals. 

Finland vs. Czech Republic 5-3 (0-1, 1-1, 4-1) Game Sheet Photos

DRESDEN – Finland took advantage of a four-goal outburst in the third period to beat the Czech Republic 5-3 in their final preliminary round game. With the win, Finland advances to the playoff round in Crimmitschau. Though both teams end up with six points in the standings, the Finns advance courtesy of the head to head victory.

The opening period, aside from a goal in the first few moments of the game by the Czech Republic’s Dmitrij Jaskin, didn’t see much in the way of offence for either team. Finland spent most of the first period on the penalty kill, and the Czechs, despite being on the man advantage for a majority of the time, never seriously threatened Finnish goalie Samu Perhonen.

Finland woke up offensively in the second frame, when Miro Aaltonen cruised into the Czech zone and roofed the puck past Czech goaltender Matej Machovsky. But with just under a minute to go in the period and playing 4-on-4 hockey, the Czechs struck again as Michal Svihalek sent the puck in from just inside the blue line to the front of the net. Forward Tomas Rousek was able to get enough on it to push it between Perhonen’s pads and past the line.

An early roughing penalty on Czech Tomas Kvapil served to spark the Finnish attack in the final frame. Thanks to a late second period penalty awarded to the Czechs, Finland found itself on a 5-on-3 man advantage, seizing the opportunity with a goal from forward Ville Jarvelainen.

The Czechs, however, came right back and scored, with a shot by Lukas Sedlak beating Perhonen just below the glove. However, that goal would be their last of the game, and it wouldn’t be enough as Finland’s big guns got going late. First, Joel Armia got the puck in front of the net off a rebound and roofed to tie the game with just over five minutes remaining.

Then, with the Czech defence reeling, Finland went for the kill as defenceman Ollii Maata made a long pass to a streaking Toni Kalella. Kalella outskated the Czech defenders and beat Machovsky between the legs for Finland’s first lead of the game. It would prove to be enough, as forward Markus Hannikainen buried the puck on a breakaway to put Finland up by two goals and seal the game.

Russia vs. Switzerland 8-3 (4-0, 3-2, 1-1) Game Sheet Photos

CRIMMITSCHAU – The Russians took care of business in their final preliminary round game, routing the Swiss 8-3. The result means that Switzerland will play in the relegation round, while the surprising host Germans advance to a playoff match against either Sweden or Canada. Team Russia’s next challenge will be in the quarter-finals against Finland.

Things started to look good for Germany early on, as the Swiss gave up four goals to the Russians in the opening period. Russia’s top line of Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Nikita Kucherov were a terror for the Swiss defence, totalling nine points with a goal for each forward in the period.

Kucherov scored again early in the second frame, off of assists from Grigorenko and Albert Yarullin. Swiss forward Dario Simeon managed to get a goal for his team, but his marker was immediately followed by another score from the Russians that chased Luca Boltshauser from the net.

The change in goal, however, did not do much to halt the Russians from scoring, as another Swiss goal was followed by three more Russian scores in the second and third periods.

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