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Tre Kronor ends home-ice curse

Incredible Swiss fall, 5-1, settle for historic silver after nine wins

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Swedish players celebrate the nation's 9th World Championship gold medal. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

STOCKHOLM – Switzerland scored first, but hosts Sweden dominated the last 55 minutes to become the first home team to win gold since 1986. It is the nation's ninth World Championship gold medal. Videos: Highlights, Post-Game Interviews For the Swiss, it was their first loss of the tournament after nine straight wins and only their second silver medal ever after finishing runner-up in 1935, their highest finish at any IIHF international hockey event. "We’re disappointed about the game," said Switzerland coach Sean Simpson. "We lost it, and we won nine games before. Not many people believed before the tournament that we would play in a World Championship final. I’m very proud of the work our team has done and about the silver medal. Switzerland has to be proud of this team. This team is a role model with its willingness, character and energy. What we did for Swiss hockey is a sensation. To be so close to the world title is super. We’ll try it again." "We were able to match their intensity at the start," said Swiss defenceman Philippe Furrer. "We had a lot of chances but couldn't score, and they did." Henrik Sedin led the offence with two goals and an assist. Goalie Jhonas Enroth was excellent, stopping 26 of 27 shots. He was named IIHF Directorate Award winner as Best Goalie. "It was a tight game," Henrik Sedin said. "It could have gone either way, I felt. It was lucky we got our first two goals pretty quickly after their first one. After we scored our third, it felt pretty calm on the bench." "We had a really good start," said goalie Martin Gerber. "We were confident, but then out of the blue they tied it up and then we had some penalties. We got lost for a while and had a hard time getting back on track." "It's an unbelievable feeling. You can't put it into words," said Henrik Tallinder. "As soon as we got our legs and got that first goal, I thought we controlled the game pretty well." "To win the last game of the season and World Championship gold is amazing," said Joel Lundqvist. "Switzerland was awesome the whole tournament. We didn't start the way we wanted, but when we got the Sedins, they played great."    The Swiss came out with determination and an effective forecheck and had the puck in Sweden’s end for most of the first five minutes, until they scored. It was the ninth time in ten games that they got the early lead. Indeed, Switzerland had trailed for only 14:25 of play (5:39 vs Canada, 8:46 vs Slovenia) the entire tournament. Roman Josi got things started at 4:45 when he eluded a lax check from Loui Eriksson at the blue line and cut in on goal, backhanding the puck along the ice past Enroth for the early 1-0 lead. Sweden tied the game at 8:42 on the team’s first shot on goal. Erik Gustafsson found a rebound in front of a crowded crease and snapped a shot past Martin Gerber, who had lost sight of the puck. The game was on. "I wasn't sure where to go exactly," said Gustafsson, "but the goal felt a little bit like a turning point. They caught us on our heels in the first ten minutes, but after we scored we were in the driver's seat." The Swedes then went ahead at 11:38 on the power play, the most potent part of their game. Henrik Sedin batted the puck out of midair in the crease to give the home side a 2-1 lead. The second period started out strategically as the Swedes went into their tight-checking system while the Swiss refused to be baited into gambling to create scoring chances. But a power play for Switzerland midway through the period, its first of the game, resulted in renewed energy. Enroth made a great save off a one-timer in the slot by Ryan Gardner, but the Swiss kept pressing for the tying goal to no avail. The Swiss had another excellent opportunity to tie the game early in the third courtesy of a Johan Fransson penalty, but their shooting was off and Enroth unflappable under pressure. Soon enough, the Swedes broke the game open. Simon Hjalmarsson scored off a giveaway by Julien Vauclair at his blue line. Gabriel Landeskog took the puck to the net and Hjalmarsson jammed it in before Mathias Seger could check him. Eriksson put the game away when a point shot went in off his skate. Video review decided there was no distinct kicking motion, so the goal stood. Coach Sean Simpson pulled Gerber with three and a half minutes remaining, and a Sweden penalty gave the Swiss a two-man advantage. Henrik Sedin, however, scored into the empty net to seal the victory. "To be honest," said Landeskog, "I don’t think I even know right now what we’ve accomplished. We’re standing here talking about it, but we don’t know what we’re going through right now. Maybe in a few years down the road, or after our careers, we’ll be able to sit back and think about this. I didn’t think I’d be standing here at 20 years old with this gold medal around my neck." ANDREW PODNIEKS
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