STOCKHOLM- Sweden earned a 2-0 win over Slovenia in anticipation of the Sedin twins making their 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship appearances in Stockholm.
Gabriel Landeskog provided the offence as Sweden outshot and outscored Slovenia in the second of three games at the Globe Arena today.
The last time these teams met at the 2002 World Championship the tournament was also in Sweden and the result was not even close. Sweden prevailed 8-2.
This contest, however, was far different on the scoresheet but in truth the Swedes controlled the game throughout. Still, the Slovenian side battled and proved quite tough to put down.
"We wanted to forecheck and attack when we can, but it didn't work out as we had hoped," said Elias Fšlth. "They work hard and are pretty good at defending. They have some skill as well, so we had to be aware of them out there. But we probably didn't play our best today."
Forced turnovers and generally kept the Slovenes on their heels to start. So many early chances by the Swedes kept the crowd at the Globe Arena entertained. The pressure was squarely in the Slovenia zone for the majority of the period. In fact, Slovenia would not get its first shot on goal until 9:42.
Later, Slovenia was the recipient of a five-on-three with 6:59 in the first period and with Landeskog and Petter Granberg in the penalty box. What should have been a golden opportunity to get out in front of the Swedes was instead a solid kill by the opposition.
Landeskog broke the scoreless tie with a low wrist shot from the left faceoff dot at 5:50 of the second period. Sweden started to get their game back on track and almost added another less than a minute later.
For Sweden the chances were plenty. 34 shots on goal after two periods ensured that Luka Gracnar, who earned his first start of the tournament in goal for Slovenia, was tested throughout.
Equally, Sweden cut off chances by their opponents, not allowing the Slovenes to get into a rhythm or generate quality scoring chances in the game. Nine shots after two periods was all the Slovenes could muster.
As the crowd grew restless in the third, Fredrik Petterson scored over Gracnarís shoulder on his stick side at 2:51.
Slovenia picked up their offensive charge but it was too little too late and they wouldn't get on the scoreboard. Jhonas Enroth posted the shutout in his fourth start for Sweden.
"They're a good team. They play well in the defensive end and their goalie played well," said Swedish forward Calle Jarnkrok. "But we didn't have our best game either. We have to do a lot better if we want to win the tournament."
The win keeps Sweden third in its group with 12 points behind Switzerland and Canada respectively. Sweden closes out the Preliminary Round against Denmark on Tuesday at 20:15.
Slovenia with its sole point and one game remaining is facing the possibility of relegation. Their last game of the 2013 World Championship will come against Canada. For Slovenia thatís a tough draw in trying to earn a win and three points, to say the least.
The last time the Sedin brothers competed for Sweden at the World Championships was 2005 in Austria when they finished fourth. In that tournament the brothers combined for 15 points.