Sweden sends a message with win
by Andrew Podnieks|26 DEC 2021
Simon Edvinsson of Sweden scores against Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Sweden scored four goals on the special teams--one with a one-man advantage and two with a two-man advantage, and another while short a man--en route to a 6-3 win over Russia on the opening day of World Junior Championship games in Group B in Red Deer.

The win came with coach Tomas Monten back behind the Sweden bench for the first time in two years. He was forced out of last year’s tournament because of COVID-19 protocols, and the team finished a disappointing fifth.

The game ended with a thrilling play by Sweden's goalie, Jesper Wallstedt. With the score 5-3 and Russia pressing for a goal with the net empty in the final minute, Wallstedt got the puck behind his own goal and fired it down the ice, looking to score the first ever goalie goal in U20 play. He was rushed just a bit and missed wide right.

Defenceman Simon Edvinsson, who plays for Frolunda in Sweden and was drafted 6th overall by Detroit just a few months ago, was the game's dominant player. He scored a goal, moved the puck seamlessly out of his zone, and was a boulder behind his own blue line. He logged a team-high 23:43 of ice time.

"I think we played well," Edvinsson said. "We were pretty sharp and had a good mindset. The game had its ups and downs, but we were strong on defence and in front of their net as well. I think we did a good job."

Russia's 17-year-old phenom Matvei Michkov scored two of Russia's three goals.

"The game didn't turn out the way we had hoped," Michkov admitted. "But we will learn from it and be ready to play tomorrow because each game gets more important as the tournament goes on."
Russia vs Sweden - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship
Sweden scored four goals on the special teams--one with a one-man advantage and two with a two-man advantage, and another while short a man--en route to a 6-3 win over Russia.
RUS SWE 26 DEC 2021
Sweden opened the scoring at 5:24 on the power play, converting just ten seconds after Nikita Novikov earned the game’s first penalty for hooking. It was a textbook faceoff win that set up the play in the offensive end, Alexander Holtz making a nice pass to Oskar Olausson, who beat Yaroslav Askarov high over the glove for the early lead. It was the first shot of the game.

A few minutes later the Swedes had a great chance to double their lead off a bad giveaway at the Russian blue line. William Eklund had a beauty of a chance from in close, but although his shot snuck between the legs of Askarov, defender Shakir Mukhamadullin swiped the puck out of the blue ice before it crossed the goal line.

Sweden took control in the second. The towering Edvinsson made it 2-0 at 7:39 with a tremendous solo effort during a Russia power play. First, he caught defender Kirill Tankov napping at the Sweden blue line and chipped the puck over his stick. Edvinsson then went in alone and beat Askarov between the pads, the puck squeaking through and, this time, rolling over the line.

Later in the period the Swedes had a 5-on-3 for 43 seconds and converted again. This time captain Emil Andrae moved along the point to the middle, waited for teammate Ake Stakkestad to screen Askarov, and then fired a shot under the goalie’s glove for a 3-0 lead.

Russia managed to beat Wallstedt with a goal at 16:28 thanks to some good digging and a lucky bounce. The goalie failed to hold a loose puck and Fyodor Svechov got to it and made a pass in front that went off Edvinsson’s skate and in.

Russia coach Sergei Zubov elected to make a goalie change during the intermission, sending Yegor Guskov into the crease to start the third. The Russians coudn't have asked for a better chance to start the final period. Helge Grans lost the puck in front of Wallstedt, but Michkov's quick shot was stopped by the goalie.

Soon after, the Russians ran into penalty trouble again and paid the price. They gave Sweden 1:44 of power-play time with two men, and this time Alexander Holtz's quick one-timer beat Guskov to make it 4-1.

"Our power play was really good today," Edvinsson added. "We have some great players on it and managed to score some important goals."

"The game did not work for us out today because the lack of discipline let us down," Svechkov said. "To let your opponent play twice 5-on-3 - there’s no excuse for that. Because of this, we conceded quick goals, and when the score was 3-1 we conceded the fourth, and it was tough to bounce back after that."

Michkov got credit for a goal a short time later, though. He was crosschecked into the goalie while with the puck, and although the net came well off its net, video review determined the puck crossed the line for a good goal.

Michkov scored again just 41 seconds later. He chased down a loose puck in the corner, and sent a desperate backhand pass in front. The puck went off William Eklund's leg and then Wallstedt's shoulder and in, making it 4-3 and giving the game its first real drama since the opening minutes.

Sweden parried the Russian thrust, however, with a killer goal at 11:37. It came off a turnover at centre ice, and gave Theodor Niederbach the puck on a two-on-one. He elected to shoot, and beat Guskov with another goal through the pads to make it a two-goal game.

Daniel Ljungman finished the scoring with an empty netter with 50.4 seconds remaining after Wallstedt's miss.

Both teams are right back at it tomorrow at the WP Centrium. Russia has the early game against Switzerland while the Swedes take on Slovakia in the evening.
Russia vs Sweden - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship