Swedes take gifted win
by Andrew Podnieks|29 APR 2021
Sweden scored three power-play goals in a span of 3:43 during a five-minute major to Maximilian Streule midway through the second period to erase a solid 1-0 Swiss lead en route to a 3-1 victory. 

The win vaults the Swedes into a first-place tie with Canada atop Group A with six points, although Canada has a game in hand. The Swiss fall to 1-2 and are in fourth place with three points.

Sweden’s record against the Swiss is now 12-0-1 in U18 history, the only loss coming back in 2002.

"We won the game through our power play, of course," said coach Anders Eriksen. "We had video reports on their PK, so we knew what to do."

Forward Noah Hasa agreed. "We didn't start the game as we wanted in the first period, but we took advantage of the power play in the second and battled hard in the third."

"It was a tough loss," said Swiss coach Marcel Jenni. "We were in control, especially at the start of the second. We scored a goal, but then we got this unnecessary penalty, and we didn't execute well enough on the PK. Five-on-five we were better, which is the positive thing."

It was a devastating loss for the Swiss, who for half the game were the better team and who had produced more offence and played better defence. Switzerland has now given up seven power-play goals in its last two games and eight in their three games so far.

It was a game to see which team would recover better from their last outings. Both teams were shellacked two days ago, the Swiss 7-1 by Belarus and the Swedes 12-1 by Canada.

"It was good to have a day off yesterday because we could talk about what went wrong in a more thorough way," Eriksen noted. "The guys knew that a 12-1 game is not okay. But I watched Canada yesterday and I can say they were a lot better against us."

"We were the better team, for sure, until the penalty," offered Swiss captain Dario Sidler. "If we stay from the penalty box we are the better team. We can beat any team five-on-five, I think."

Streule incurred his major when he hit towering Swedish defenceman Simon Edvinsson knee-on-knee in centre ice. Although Edvinsson appeared to be injured, he missed only one shift. The Swedes tied the game at 12:00 when Isak Rosen blasted a one-time from the right faceoff circle. Two minutes later, on a similar play, Liam Dower Nilsson gave the Swedes the lead, and then a minute and a half after that Arvid Sundin scored a lucky goal from behind the end red line, banking a pass in front off a Swiss defender.

The trio of goals were crippling for a Swiss team that had played with such confidence, and the period ended in disarray as Joel Henry took a boarding major and in retaliation Dower Nilsson also incurred a major. Both penalties came with game misconducts, leaving the teams three players shy of a full house for the final period.

The Swiss had taken the lead early in the second after a long period of sustained pressure. Kevin Nicolet forced a turnover and got the puck in front to Benjamin Bougro, and his quick shot beat Carl Lindbom at 2:59.

Although there was no scoring in the first, the period was surprising for how evenly the Swiss played against their favoured opponents. Switzerland dominated early on and had the first great chance when Lilian Garessus had a partial breakaway. He was stopped nicely by Lindbom. 

The Swedes then took over for a while but couldn’t capitalize on a brutal error by defenceman Lian Bichsel. He made a back pass directly in front of his goal, but Ludwig Persson didn’t get a great shot off from the gifted opportunity.

The Swiss later had two great chances after Isak Rosen hit the post behind Kevin Pasche midway through. Bichsel made a sensational end-to-end rush that lacked only a solid finish to make it the highlight of the night, but Lindbom blocked his shot. Then, on a late power play, Jeremy Jabola hit the post on a power play with Pasche down and out.

Switzerland is back in action tomorrow against Canada while the Swedes have a day off before facing Latvia on Saturday in their final game of the round robin.
Sweden vs Switzerland - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship