That being said, one of hockey’s most lopsided rivalries just inched closer to the top of the all-time list in World Junior play. Sweden has now won all 23 games played between the nations in U20 history. Only Canada over Switzerland (25 games) and Finland over Germany (also 25 games) rival the mismatch that has evolved in World Junior play between the Swedes and underdog Germans. Still, today's result was the only one-goal game between the teams in U20 history.
"I'm happy," said German captain Yannick Proske. "We played really well and did a lot of things well. We played simple and fast, got the puck out of zone and finish our checks. We paid attention to the details, and that was big for us. It's too bad we didn't get any points from the game, but we have to get ready for tomorrow now. I think we can do more."
"We were the better team, I think, but they played well," offered Sweden's Leo Carlsson. "We now have two tough games coming up against Canada and the Czechs, and we have to work on some details, especially fewer penalties. It was a lot of pressure at the end. They made it uncomfortable for us."
On the team's second man advantage, Veit Oswald let go a great shot that Lindbom got his right shoulder on. Those saves proved critical as Sweden got the only goal of the period with 21.5 seconds left. It came off a faceoff win, and Engstrom’s shot hit a German in front and skittered between the pads of Quapp and trickled over the goal line.
If Lindbom was the star of the first 20 minutes, Quapp was certainly the man in the second, which was played without a goal thanks largely to his play. He had played at both the 21/22 U20 and the 2022 edition in the summer, and showed poise when his team needed him the most. Early on he foiled Julian Lutz off the rush, and a short time later made a fortuitous save using the shaft of his stick off a laser from Liam Ohgren.
Then, at 11:23, Sweden was awarded a penalty shot when Fabian Lysell was tripped from behind by Julian Waser. Lysell, the 21st overall selection by Boston in 2021 currently playing with Providence, tried to sneak a deke five-hole, but Quapp was having none of that and closed the gap nicely. It was Lysell's second PS miss in 2022, after being stopped by Sebastian Wraneschitz of Austria this past August.
"I saw him come through the middle," Quapp explained. "At first, I thought I was too deep, but I saw he was trying to go five-hole and I was right there."
The goalie stood tall again late in the frame when Sweden had a five-on-three for 70 seconds but couldn’t add to their lead.
The Germans came out and dominated the early going of the third, drawing a penalty and creating several scoring chances with the extra skater. But again Lindbom stood tall, making a great left pad save off a point-blank shot from Philipp Bidoul, who led all skaters today with 21:37 of ice time.
Soon after, Lutz hustled down ice to negate an icing and got the puck in front to Robin van Calster, who was thwarted by the goalie with perhaps his best save of the night. But the Germans played with greater and greater confidence and were the better team as the period advanced.
Their one blip was a penalty to Roman Kechter, but the penalty killers did a masterful job and Kechter had a partial breakaway when he came out, foiled only by a superb diving poke check by Engstrom. Germany pressed, and the crowd chanted, "Let's go, Germany!" but the players couldn't get the equalizer.
"The crowd was amazing," Proske enthused. "It was a great feeling. None of our guys have ever heard that before, so it was a lot of fun for everybody and really helped us make a push at the end."