Swedes off to semi-finals

U18: Shut out Russia to win 2-0, Finns beat Czechs 6-2

Zimni Stadion Znojmo  Czech Republic

Sweden shut down the Russian offence to claim its third straight top seed in the U18 tournament. Photo: Phil MacCallum / HHOF-IIHF Images

BRNO / ZNOJMO – Sweden has claimed the top seed in Group B with a win over Russia in its final preliminary round game, while Finland is assured of a playoff spot thanks to a win over the Czech Republic.

Sweden – Russia 2-0 (2-0, 0-0,0-0)
ZNOJMO – Sweden has won the top seed in Group B thanks to a 2-0 win over Russia in its final game of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship preliminary round. The Swedes capitalized early and limited Russia to only a hanful of scoring chances, outshooting the Russians 31-16 through two periods. Sweden took a 2-0 lead into the second period, with both goals coming from captain Filip Forsberg, the first coming with a backhand shot that went off the cross bar and in, and the second from a power play, where Forsberg dragged the puck past a Russian defender and went five-hole for the score. Undisciplined play cost the Russians a chance at coming back in the second period, when team frustrations boiled over and Vyacheslav Osnovin received a five minute major and a game misconduct for a check to the head and neck area of Sweden’s Jacob De La Rose. But the Russian killed off the penalty, and Sweden could not get another goal in the frame, leaving the door open for a possible comeback.   But the comeback never materialized for Russia. Without the insurance goal, Sweden still managed to keep Russia at bay through the final period, rarely giving up a good chance and pinning the Russians to the outside of the circles and away from the middle of the ice.

“We knew that they have some skill guys and that we had to work hard to take away the middle of the ice,” said Forsberg. “That’s where they like to score and I think we did a great job of taking them out of that area and our defence was able to get out and block a lot of shots, overall we did a perfect job in our own zone”

With the victory, Sweden has now clinched the top seed in its group for the third straight year. Czech Republic – Finland 2-6 (0-2, 1-1, 1-3) BRNO – Finland has wrapped up a playoff spot with a 6-2 victory over the hosts Czech Republic. The loss means that the Czechs will play in the relegation round beginning on Thursday. Rasmus Kulmala recorded a hat trick in the game, including both his team’s opening goals, while Aleksi Muskonen, Samu Markkula, and Aleksander Barkov rounded out the scoring for the Finns.   Dominik Volek and Jan Hudecek scored the only goals for the host team, as the Czechs were bottled up by the Finnish defence, managing only six shots in the opening period and allowing 17 to the Finns on the other end of the ice. The victory confirms a spot for Finland in the quarter-finals. The Czechs will join Denmark and two other teams in the relegation round. The four teams in the Relegation Round play a single round robin series. The three teams which finish first, second and third at the end of this round play again at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, while the fourth-place team is relegated to Division I Group A.

Click here for photos, scores, and stats. ADAM STEISS
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