Tre Kronor golden again!
20 ìàÿ 2018 ãîäà. By Lucas Aykroyd. iihf.com
Filip Forsberg's shootout goal lifted Sweden to a 3-2 win over
Switzerland and a second straight IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
gold medal in Copenhagen on Sunday.
Forsberg coolly shot low to the glove side to beat Swiss goalie
Leonardo Genoni. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored earlier in the
shootout, as did Switzerland's Sven Andrighetto. When Swedish netminder
Anders Nilsson foiled Nino Niederreiter with his blocker, the
celebration was on at Copenhagen's Royal Arena.
Winning gold via the shootout under head coach Rikard Gronborg has
become a habit for the boys in blue and yellow. Tre Kronor last won
back-to-back titles in 1991 (Turku) and 1992 (Prague).
"We would have wanted to win in regulation, but we knew that this would
be a tough game," said Forsberg. "They pushed all their opponents in
the tournament to tight games. They had a great defence and their
goalie played great. We knew it was going to take a lot to get it
done."In regulation time, Gustav Nyqvist and Mika Zibanejad scored for
Sweden. Nino Niederreiter and Timo Meier scored for Switzerland, while
Roman Josi added two assists.
The underdog Swiss tragically missed their chance to win their first
World Championship ever. While this was a huge achievement after only
making the quarter-finals twice in the preceding four years, the loss
will still sting for a long time. You just couldn't come any closer to
"I'm so proud of this team and what we've done the last two weeks,"
said Genoni. "But at the moment, I can hear the Swedes celebrating
behind us, so it's hard."
The defending champions outshot Switzerland 38-27, giving Genoni another busy night after the 3-2 semi-final upset over Canada.
Nilsson, who made the tournament all-star team, entered with a
tournament-leading 1.00 GAA and 95.9 save percentage. The towering
28-year-old Lulea native was well-protected in Denmark with an
NHL-loaded defence corps, including fellow all-stars Ekman-Larsson and
Adam Larsson, but he also rebounded after a lackluster season with the
"The goalie is the backbone of your team, so if he is playing well it
makes it so much easier for the rest of the team to play well," said
Hampus Lindholm. "That is what Nilsson did for us. He had a great
"I don't know if I have the words for it," said Nilsson, who cancelled
a planned vacation in L.A. to join the team. "It's a great feeling, I'm
The Swedes went wire-to-wire without losing a game. And although the
Canadians finished fourth with a disappointing 4-1 bronze medal loss to
the United States earlier, the motherland of hockey provided a subtext
to this game.
Last year, Nicklas Backstrom got the shootout winner as Sweden edged
Canada 2-1 for gold in Cologne. Canada was also the last nation to win
back-to-back titles (2015, 2016).
It was a big bounceback for both Sweden and Switzerland after
February's PyeongChang Olympics. There, Germany shocked Switzerland 2-1
in the qualification playoffs and Sweden 4-3 in the quarterfinals, both
in overtime."We are proud having silver, but still it sucks," said
Switzerland's Mirco Muller. "We were so close going up in the shootout.
It is a tough loss. Really proud of the guys, obviously. It will mean
something after a few weeks pass by."
This was a rematch of the 2013 World Championship final in Stockholm.
There, Josi was named tournament MVP with another Cinderella squad, but
Tre Kronor triumphed 5-1 with the help of late arrivals Henrik and
Daniel Sedin. The victory broke the 27-year-old Worlds “home ice
curse,” which dated back to the 1986 Soviet gold medal in Moscow.
This final attracted an enthusiastic sellout crowd of 12,490, dominated
by yellow Tre Kronor jerseys, but also featuring lots of Swiss red and
cowbells. It was a fitting climax to a tournament that exceeded
expectations by selling more than 500,000 tickets. "It was amazing to
come onto the ice to see so many Swedish fans," said Johan Larsson. "We
enjoyed it. They've been awesome the whole tournament. It was a good
game, a hard-fought game. We're really happy we came up with a victory.
The Swedes quickly settled into their puck possession groove, but the
first good chance went to Niederreiter, who nearly finished off a
three-way passing play on the rush by Nilsson’s right post. Seconds
later, Viktor Arvidsson, who scored twice in the 6-0 semi-final win
over the Americans, got in behind the Swiss defence. He had Genoni
beaten with his deke, but backhanded the puck wide through the crease.
At 11:25, Niederreiter took the first penalty when he high-sticked
Arvidsson deep in the Swiss zone. The Swedes peppered Genoni with
shots, but couldn’t break through.
Atoning for his error, Niederreiter opened the scoring at 16:38. Off a
faceoff at the Swedish blue line, Josi carried the puck into the Swiss
zone and lost it in a thicket of Swedish defenders, but the Minnesota
Wild veteran followed up and pushed it past a surprised Nilsson.
Tre Kronor struck back just 1:16 later. With Hornqvist providing the
screen in front, Nyqvist knocked down a Mattias Ekholm pass in the high
slot and flung the puck over Genoni’s glove. The teams went to the
dressing rooms tied 1-1 despite Sweden’s 13-7 edge in shots.
Early in the second period, Nyqvist played the goat when he
high-sticked Ramon Untersander, Switzerland’s top-scoring defenceman.
The power play looked like it would pass uneventfully – until Enzo
found a wide-open Meier streaking down right wing. The San Jose Sharks
youngster unleashed a wrister from the faceoff circle that beat Nilsson
under his stick arm to make it 2-1 at 3:13. It was the first Swiss shot
of the period with 10 seconds left in the man advantage.
"Switzerland beat both Finland and Canada, so we knew they had a great team," said Mikael Wikstrand.
Even though the recently retired Sedins aren’t here, the Swedes hemmed
Switzerland in with great Sedin-style cycling for long stretches after
the midway point. It paid off with Zibanejad’s 2-2 power play goal at
14:53 after Corvi went off for holding. Ekman-Larsson sent the puck
cross-ice to the New York Rangers star, and he fired a wrister from the
top of the right faceoff circle that sailed home.
"We had the puck a lot," said Arvidsson. "We stayed in their zone a
lot. They did a great job defending, and their goalie was really good.
We had some great plays, we had to bear down on them, but we stayed
with it, and I think we had the puck more of the time."
Nilsson redeemed himself for the iffy Meier goal when he made huge,
back-to-back blocker saves on Sven Andrighetto and Simon Moser in the
last two minutes of the middle frame. At the other end, Genoni came out
to stop Arvidsson’s slap shot on a 2-on-1 rush just before the buzzer.
The third period was cautiously played until Swedish captain Mikael
Backlund stole the puck from Meier at centre and burst in for a
backhand attempt. Josi hauled him down as Genoni made a left pad save,
and the Swedish power play went to work again at the seven-minute mark.
Solid positional play denied the Swedes.
However, in a weird sequence, Josi went straight back into the penalty
box because he had failed to exit it completely. He got an interference
play for touching the puck while still standing inside the penalty box
gate. Outraged by the call, the Swiss fans whistled deafeningly.
On the ensuing man advantage, Ekman-Larsson exploded down the middle on
a solo rush and got shaken up when he crashed into the goal post and
the end boards. However, the Arizona Coyotes workhorse would carry on.
The Swedes got one more mind-blowing chance in the final minute of the
third when Ekholm streaked in unopposed, but couldn't beat Genoni.
Ekman-Larsson also had a superb chance near the eight-minute mark of
overtime when Rakell found him with a back pass on the rush, but Genoni
was there again as Ekman-Larsson went flying over a Swiss defender. A
few minutes later, the Swiss goalie made a great glove grab on John
Klingberg's quick release from the high slot.
The Swiss came within a hair's-breadth of victory when Kukan centered
it from behind the goal line to Fiala in the slot, forcing Nilsson into
a stunning glove save. At the other end, Larsson hammered one off the
goal post with under three seconds left in sudden-death.
"There was so much drama!" said Sweden's Magnus Paajarvi. "We couldn't
get the lead early. We felt we should have, and then when we didn't we
started to play a little tight and then it went to overtime and a
shootout and you don't know what will happen. It's great to win."
This was Sweden's 11th IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship gold medal of all time.
Prior to 2013's silver, all the Swiss World Championship medals came
prior to the modern era of international hockey that kicked off with
the Soviet Union's golden 1954 Worlds debut: silver in 1935, and bronze
in 1930, 1937, 1939, 1950, 1951, and 1953.
"It is hard to see the big picture right now," said Joel Vermin. "It is
just very disappointing for now. We can be proud of ourselves. Each and
every one played a hell of a tournament. It was a real team effort. We
will need a few weeks for this to kind of sink in."
"It's a perfect way to end the year," said Arvidsson.
With Sweden and Switzerland facing off for gold twice in six years,
this could mark a new rivalry in international hockey. Where will it go
next? Can the Swedes three-peat? Will the Swiss be back for more? Join
us again for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia
(Bratislava and Kosice).