STOCKHOLM – Fredrik Pettersson scored the winning goal of the shootout on a slapshot from close range to give Sweden a 3-2 win over Canada and the final place in the semi-finals in Stockholm on Saturday. Sweden will now play Finland for a place in the gold-medal game on Sunday.
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The game was decided on the fourth shot after Jordan Eberle and Loui Eriksson scored for Canada and Sweden, respectively, with the first three shots.
"I’m really happy," said winning coach, Pär Mårts. "They are a tough team to beat. We knew we had to play our best game of the tournament. Today everything worked well. I’m happy for Swedish hockey because you have to play for the medals in your home tournament."
"It's tough to lose a close game like this one," said goalie Mike Smith, who played well but lost in a shootout for the second time this tournament. "They battled hard and played great. We had some chances to put the game away but couldn't. This is a game that could have gone either way."
Canada, for the fourth consecutive year, goes home empty-handed. To make matters worse, Eric Staal, the team's captain, suffered what looked to be a bad knee injury in the first period after being taken out by a knee-on-knee hit from Alexander Edler.
"It was tough seeing someone like that go down," said defenceman P.K. Subban. "He's one of the best players in the world and our captain. It was tough."
Edler's actions are under review and the disciplinary panel will hold a hearing on Friday to determine if further sanctions are merited. Edler received a five-minute major and game misconduct on the play.
"I was so nervous in the shootout that I could barely watch," said Erik Gustafsson. "Usually I'm not that nervous, but today I was nervous. This is a great feeling to win the game. It is hard to describe. We will enjoy tonight and go to the next game against Finland."
The first period was markedly different from the one these two teams played last week. In that game, Canada took control from the opening faceoff, scoring the only goal and dominating in all areas of the game en route to a convincing 3-0 win.
Tonight, the team was more cautious, giving Sweden a chance to gain some confidence. The game turned initially in Tre Kronor’s favour after a bad pinch by Subban at centre ice, resulting in a two-on-one that should have given Sweden the opening goal. Simon Hjalmarsson’s pass to Gabriel Landeskog, though, was way off and the chance was lost.
Canada failed to connect with the five-minute advantage late in the period after Edler's infraction. Then, an Andrew Ladd minor nullified two minutes of it, leaving the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
The major penalty carried over to the second, however, and Canada capitalized on the fresh ice. Stéphane Robidas’ point shot was nicely deflected by Steven Stamkos in the slot just 45 seconds in, and Canada had the first goal.
The visitors had a great chance to make it 2-0 when Stamkos had a breakaway, but he made one move too many and ran out of room to tuck the puck past Enroth. In the last second, Canada thought it finally did go up 2-0, but video review showed the puck entered the net after time had expired.
"Jhonas is one of the most competitive players I've ever seen," said Gustafsson. "He showed that in the shootout. Nerves of steel. In the second period, if Stamkos scores on the breakaway it's a different game. He kept us in the game and played amazing."
When Dan Hamhuis drew a penalty for lifting the puck into the crowd early in the third, fans sensed the moment – and the Swedes responded. Nicklas Danielsson's one-timer from the point sailed through a maze of bodies in front and past Smith, tying the game and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Four minutes later, the play was repeated after a senseless penalty by Claude Giroux. Samuelsson's point shot on the ensuing power play again found its way to the net where it went off Eriksson's skate and through Smith's pads to give the Swedes their first lead of the game.
Giroux atoned a minute later, though. Stamkos made a great play along the boards to force a turnover, and Andrew Ladd made a perfect pass to Giroux, who snapped a quick shot under the arm of Enroth to make it a 2-2 game at 10:50.