Swedes power past Germany
by Lucas Aykroyd|28 APR 2022
Isac Born (#12) scores a breakaway goal for Sweden in a 7-1 quarter-final romp over host Germany at the 2022 U18 Worlds in Kaufbeuren.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Sweden advanced to the final four at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship with a convincing 7-1 quarter-final win over host Germany in Kaufbeuren on Thursday. They'll face archrival Finland in Saturday's late semi-final in Landshut.

The Swedes, who capitalized five times on the power play versus Germany, controlled the game and never looked back after scoring three first-period goals.

"It was good that we could score five goals on the power play," said Swedish head coach Magnus Havelid. "That gives you a lot of confidence for your top players."

Jonathan Lekkerimaki led the way with a goal and four assists. Mattias Havelid scored twice and added two assists, and he leads all tournament blueliners with four goals.

Captain Liam Ohgren delivered a goal and an assist, and Isac Born, Tim Almgren, and Otto Stenberg added singles. Noah Ostlund added three assists.
Sweden vs Germany (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship
Sweden advanced to the final four at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship with a convincing 7-1 quarter-final win over host Germany.
SWE GER 29 APR 2022
The talented Smakronorna are aiming to medal for the fourth consecutive tournament. They captured the gold medal for the first time in 2019 and earned bronze in 2018 and 2021.

Winless and pointless, coach Alexander Duck’s Germans finish in last place (eighth). The Germans also settled for last place (tenth) in 2021. Fortunately for them, for the second straight year, there will be no relegation at this tournament.

Luca Hauf had the lone goal for Germany against Sweden.

"I think we prepared pretty good, but the problem was that we didn't really want it that bad," said Germany's Rayan Bettahar."Obviously Sweden are a skilled team, but it doesn't matter. We didn't play with our structure or tactics. From start to finish, it was hard to compete with them."

Germany’s U18 Worlds peak remains fifth place (2001, 2008).

Swedish starting goalie Hugo Havelid was significantly less busy than his counterpart Simon Wolf as Sweden outshot Germany 46-29.

"We need to keep playing good hockey, like we've been doing in the past two games, and just keeping it together, keeping it simple," said Mattias Havelid. "I think we have been playing better and better every game. So if we can keep up this trend, I think we will advance to the finals."

In the quarter-final, the Germans set an unfortunate tone. They took two minors in the opening minute, and that poor discipline proved fatal against the ever-dangerous Swedish power play.

First, Bettahar was sent off for charging after trying to ignite his team with a high hit on Filip Bystedt. Then just four seconds after the Swedish man advantage started, defenceman Jakob Weber backhanded the puck over the glass, resulting in a 5-on-3.

Mattias Havelid’s wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle gave Sweden a 1-0 lead at 2:35.

And Sweden kept coming. Defenceman Calle Odelius found Born with a wonderful stretch pass, and he zoomed in on a breakaway to beat Wolf five-hole and make it 2-0 at 7:29.

The Swedes marched to the sin bin frequently themselves in the first period, and Germany could have cashed in with a more effective power play. But there were few quality Deutschland chances. 

At certain points, it looked like a game of keepaway as the Swedes moved the puck around confidently. That was the story when Almgren made it 3-0 with another power play marker with 29 seconds left in the opening frame, set up by Ohgren and Lekkerimaki. He had all day to cue up his high-glove side shot from the left faceoff circle.

Nearing the six-minute mark of the second period, Eric Hordler could have put Germany on the board when he got in alone off a Swedish defensive zone turnover, but he couldn't convert on his backhand deke.

Wolf made a nice glove save on the shifty Ostlund during a mid-game Swedish power play. But it was only a matter of time until the Smakronorna increased their lead, as the Germans couldn't stay out of the box.

On the third Swedish power play goal, Ohgren stumbled and fell behind the German net, but picked himself up to tuck in a wraparound at 13:58.

"I feel like we have so many options," said Hugo Havelid of the potent power play. "We can shoot from so many the positions. We have nice shots on both sides and also good playmakers. So we can score from pretty much everywhere."

Two minutes later, the Germans finally gave the Kaufbeuren crowd something to cheer about. Philipp Krening powered to the net off right wing and couldn't push the puck past Hugo Havelid, but Hauf was there to put in the rebound, cutting the deficit to 4-1.

In the third period, the Germans had one more big chance to get back into it when Swedish blueliner Elias Salomonsson was ejected with a match penalty for a risky hit from behind.

Yet even when the five-minute power play turned into a nearly two-minute 5-on-3 with Odelius off for tripping, Germany lacked the finish to narrow the gap despite some good pressure.

The Swedes pulled away in the late stages, continuing to lean on their power play. In the last five minutes, Havelid (on the PP), Stenberg, and Lekkerimaki (on the PP again) scored within a span of 2:16 to complete the rout.

"Of course, we were the favourites, but you never know in these kinds of games," said Magnus Havelid. "So I'm happy how we went through everything."

Sweden now holds an all-time record of 10 wins and one loss against Germany, and enjoys a goal difference of 61-17. But even though these U18 Worlds are over for the Germans, they can cherish their memories of competing on home ice.

"Obviously it's tough to lose, but everyone will remember this moment," said Bettahar. "For me, it's a once in a lifetime moment. Even though I played last year, playing in front of the fans was something different. They were giving us the support."
Sweden vs Germany (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship