Swedes clinch Group A; Finns to relegation round
It had been 31 years without gold at the World Junior Hockey Championships for the Swedes before last year's triumph. Now the team is well-positioned to threaten for their second gold in as many years. Sweden held off Finland in their final preliminary round game to clinch Group A with a 7-4 win.
Sweden opened up an early lead when Alexander Wennberg deflected a shot past Joonas Korpisalo, just 6:16 into the game. The Swedes would score again just 43 seconds later on a point shot from Robert Hagg, then add another for a 3-0 lead. The Finns called a timeout after that third goal, and would go on to score on the power play before the period was out to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Finns scored twice inside the first four minutes of the second period, with both goals coming on the power play. That led to Swedish coach Roger Ronnberg making a tactical move of his own, pulling goaltender Joel Lassinantti in favour of Niklas Lundstrom. The Swedes would score twice before the period was out to re-gain the two goal cushion they began the period with.
Finland scored first in the third period, but the Swedes would add an insurance goal on the power play, and then another into the empty net to seal the victory.
The win gives Sweden a bye to the semifinal round on Thursday.
Finland failed to pass Switzerland for third in Group A and is off to the relegation round.