Sweden defeats Russia to advance to gold medal game
Team Sweden got off to a hot start in Ufa Arena on Thursday. But slowly let the Russians get back in to the game and tie things up at 2-2 before finally putting them away on a Sebastian Collberg shoot-out winner. Sweden moves on to the Gold-medal game to face Team USA on Saturday, who blasted the Canadians 5-1 in the other semi-final.
Team Sweden got off to an unbelievable start in this hockey game. They weren't able to take advantage on a power play after an early tripping call on Kucherov, but were able to take advantage after the Tripping call on Pavel Koledov. Elias Lindholm was credited with the power-play goal at the 6:35 mark. The Swedes doubled their lead at the 9:38 mark after Filip Forsberg sniped a shot from the slot to continue a dominating period for the Swedes. The Russians did not record a single shot on goal for the first 14 minutes of play, and managed only two shots in the entire period. The Russians made the decision to start Andrei Vasilevski in goal who looked a bit shaky in the first half of the opening frame. Vasilevski gave up two goals on fourteen shots in the first.
Andrei Vasilevski looked like a different goalie to start the second period for the Russian stopping a few good chances in close for the Swedes early. That seemed to spark the Russians as Andrei Mironov scored on a strange shot that deflected off Victor Arvidsson' in front of Niklas Lundstroom to cut the Swedish lead in half at the 7:32 mark. Sweden and Russia traded a few great scoring chances in the second half of the period but to no avail. The Russians were still out-shot in the period by a narrow 11-10 margin.
The momentum was in the Russians corner in a big way to start the third period. They came out on fire, out-shooting the Swedes by a 7-1 margin before they finally cap[capitalized and tied the game up off a Mikail Grigerenko stick at the mark. Grigerenko lifted a rebound off the ice to beat Lundstrom, who really had no chance on the play. Both teams fought to get the winner down the stretch but it was almost inevitable that we would head into overtime.
It was a rather defensive overtime with both Russia and Sweden holding onto the puck in the neutral zone, getting only six shots on net each. There were some scoring chances however, the biggest coming from Nail Yakapov as he worked free and skated coast to coast with less than ten seconds left and just missed putting a backhand through Lundstrom as the horn sounded to end play. The last four meetings between these two teams at this tournament have gone to overtime.
The shootouts provided some more drama. Sweden won the toss and chose to shoot first. Mikail Vikstrand sent a shot over the net as he made a move to the forehand from in close versus Andrei Vaselevski. Mikail Grigerenko was first up for the Russians and was stoned on the backhand by Niklas Lundstrom.
Round two began with Vikstrand making the nice blocker save on Victor Rask's forehand move. Nail Yakapov tried to go five-hole on Lundstrom who closed the pads to make a wonderful save.
Sebastian Collberg made a beautiful move to his back hand and lifted the puck up high on the Russian goalie who had no chance on the play. That left it all to Nikita Kucherov to keep Team Russia alive who faked the forehand and missed the backhand wide of the net to give the Swedes a shootout victory.
Niklas Lundstrom made 27 saves for the victory. Andrei Vasilevski stopped 38 shots for Russia.
Russia could not exact revenge at home after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss in overtime to Sweden in the Gold-Medal game last year. They move on to play for the Bronze on Saturday versus the Canadians. The Russians lost 4-1 earlier in the tournament against the Canadians.