Sweden flies past Denmark
by Ameeta VOHRA|03 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Matt Zambonin
With a pair of goals in the second period, Sweden earned a 3-1 victory over Denmark in Day 1 action at the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship in Utica, New York on Wednesday.

The odds-on favourite to win Group B faced a surprising test early on from Denmark.  The team penetrated deep into Denmark's zone for the majority of the game but were faced with a hot goaltender in Emma-Sofie Nordstrom.  She was tested by Sweden and peppered with shots throughout the game. Overalll, Nordstrom faced 39 shots on goal.

In the first period, Sweden had some great opportunities. At 16:13 of the period, Hilda Svensson attempted to score but was denied by Nordstrom.

Sweden came very close at 9:18 of the period when players were close the net.  Nordstrom went to the left of the net to try and save the puck.  The puck went behind her skates, and right near an open net. It provided the perfect chance for the Swedes to score; however, they could not seize on the opportunity.
In the dying seconds of the first period, Lina Ljungblom was fed a pass and tried to go top shelf. She was unable to convert the play into a scoring opportunity. Ljungbolm also could not capitalize on a breakaway chance she had earlier in the period.

In the second period, Linnea Andersson had two great chances, including a backhand shot to put Sweden in the lead.  However, she was not able to get any of them past Nordstorm.

Sweden would open the scoring at 7:41 of the period. Maja Nylen Persson fed Felizia Wikner Zienkiewicz the puck.  Wikner Zienkiewicz took a bit of a pause and then got the puck over and up past Nordstrom to tally the marker for the team.

With 1:06 left in the period, Ljungblom would finally find a way to get past Nordstrom.  After getting the puck from Sofie Lundin, Ljungblom's one-timer shot blasted the puck past the Denmark goaltender for Sweden's second goal of the game.

Josefin Bouveng strengthens Sweden's lead at 15:49 of the third period as she wrapped around the puck into the net.

Denmark scored their first goal of the tournament as Olivia Ranum passed the puck. It deflected off the stick of a Swedish player. It landed over to captain Nicoline Jensen, who buried the puck into a wide open Denmark net.
Sweden was thrilled to take their first win of the tournament considering Denmark was a surprising challenge.

"We are surprised that we won the game," Ljungbolm says.  "I think we had more to give, especially our line.  We won and that's the point.  We're happy about that."

Between now and their next game against China on Friday April 5th, Sweden will be looking to improve on areas, including their confidence.

"We came out hard, even though there were a lot of girls that were nervous," Ljungblom says. "We came out hard and when we went down a little bit into the play, we still didn't get that low, so we will build something from that."
Meanwhile, Denmark will try to rebound as they face off against Germany on Thursday April 4th. For Denmark, today marked their official return to Group B after securing a promotion spot in last year's IIHF Women's World Championship Division in China.

Despite the loss, the team was proud of their performance.

"We played good; we know that Sweden is a really, really good team," Nordstrom says.  "We knew going into this game that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I think if we keep this intensity going, our games for our country will be looking good."

Facing the pressure from Sweden the entire game, Nordstrom took it in stride.

"It was probably one of the most tiring games I played this year," she says. "Honestly, I was just having fun playing with my teammates. It was just a good time."