Swedes win big
by Andrew Podnieks|26 DEC 2022
Sweden's Filip Bystedt celebrates after scoring a first-period goal against Austria.
photo: Matt Zambonin / IIHF
Sweden started its 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship campaign with a one-sided 11-0 win over Austria in Halifax this afternoon. Some 17 players had at least one point for the Swedes, including goalie Carl Lindbom who had an assist in his U20 debut and stopped 13 mostly easy shots for the shutout.

Isak Rosen and Filip Bystedt led the attack with two goals and an assist each. Fabian Wagner had a goal and two helpers while defender Ludvig Jansson had three assists.

"We tried to pay attention to the little things and not play with the attitude that things would come easy for us, to play the game like any other game," Bystedt said of the blowout. "We have a lot of skill and offensive-minded players. We have a good mix with our defensive play as well. I think we can attack and score goals and go far in the tournament."

The loss extends Austria’s undesirable record to 28 games without a win in all-time U20 play. The only point they have ever earned came from a 2-2 tie with Ukraine at the 2004 tournament in Hameenlinna with a team captained by Thomas Vanek.

They will have a chance to end that streak again tomorrow night against Czechia. The early game will feature Sweden taking on Germany.

"It sucks to lose a game like this," said 17-year-old Austrian forward Ian Scherzer, "but I think our goal coming into this tournament was not to look at scores but just compete every night. We don't have a set goal except to do our best and see what happens. But today, we had a lot of breakdowns and gave them way too many scoring chances. We made it too easy for them. We have to stay on our toes for the whole game, and I thought we were thinking way too much. If you think, you're always going to be one second too late. We have to work on that for tomorrow."

Today, however, they were no match for the Swedes, who moved the puck around with crisp, confident passes and converted on many of their scoring chances. But for the great play of Thomas Pfarrmaier, making his U20 debut, the score would have been much higher in the early going. Indeed, he gave the pro-Austria crowd something to cheer about just a few minutes in when he went side to side to make a spectacular blocker stop off what looked like a sure goal for Bystedt, stationed to the back side of the play.
Sweden vs Austria - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
SWE AUT 26 DEC 2022
Sweden opened the scoring thanks to some terrible Austria luck. Scherzer blew a tire while carrying the puck out of his zone. Rosen was right there to claim the puck, and as he went in on goal he noticed Pfarrmaier had lost his stick. Rosen shot to the far corner to make it 1-0 at 13:17. 

Soon after, Pfarrmaier made a great pad save off a nice deke from Noah Ostlund, but the goalie couldn’t stop another back-door chance by Bystedt. The play started with an offensive zone faceoff win for Sweden. Rosen’s shot was stopped by Pfarrmaier, but the rebound came out to Bystedt, who made no mistake. 

Shots favoured Sweden, 21-3, in the opening 20, a more than fair representation of scoring chances and puck possession.

But it was all downhill for Austria after that. Rosen made it 3-0 on a power play just 48 seconds into the middle frame, wiring a high shot to the short side over Pfarrmaier’s shoulder. Two minutes later, on a delayed penalty, they made it 4-0 when Simon Robertsson’s high shot eluded the goalie.

And all the puck luck was going Sweden’s way. Pfarrmaier came out to play a puck, but there was a lack of communication with his defender Patirck Sollinger, and Oskar Robertsson ended up with the puck in the corner. His centring pass hit Solliger’s stick, bounced off Milton Oscarson’s skate, and in. A Jonathan Lekkerimaki shot at 10:28 made it 6-0 and spelled the end for Pfarrmaier, who was given a heartfelt round of applause by the fans as he left the ice.

That gave Benedikt Oschgan the chance to make his Team Austria debut in the blue ice – and it did not start well. He surrendered goals on his first two shots, the first off the stick of Liam Ohgren at 12:33, and the second just 50 seconds later from Calle Odelius.

By the time the third was barely four minutes old the score had reached double digits. Fabian Wagner got one on a two-on-one rush at 2:45 and soon after a pass bounced off Bystedt and in to make it 10-0. Pettersson rounded out the scoring at 13:50.
Sweden vs Austria - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship