weden strode into the final of the Ice Hockey World Championships by crushing the United States 6-0 on Saturday.
The defending champion set up a gold medal game on Sunday against Switzerland, which surprised Canada in a 3-2 win in the other semifinal.
The Swedes set up the victory with three goals in three minutes and seven seconds midway through the second period.
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“We didn’t play our best game but we put up a lot of goals,” forward Patric Hornqvist said. “We still have some improvement to do for the game tomorrow.”
Sweden is going for a third world title in six years.
Viktor Arvidsson led Sweden with two goals and goaltender Anders Nielsen made 41 saves for the shutout.
What is it about the Swiss?
For whatever reason, the emerging hockey nation always seems to give Canada trouble in international competition, despite a huge talent discrepancy.
That was the case once again at the IIHF World Championships in Denmark on Saturday, as Switzerland upset Canada 3-2 in the semi-final. Canada will play USA for bronze on Sunday, while the Swiss will face Sweden in the gold medal game.
Switzerland’s best player was their goaltender, Leonardo Genoni, who stopped 43 of 45 shots he faced. The Swiss were full marks for their first goal though, as Tristan Scherwey scored to take a 1-0 lead in the first period after sustained pressure on Canadian goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Vancouver Canucks centre Bo Horvat, who was named Player of the Game for Canada, levelled the score midway through the second period.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, the U.S. had a four-minute power play but allowed a short-handed goal by Magnus Paajarvi, who scored on a rebound after goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped Mikael Backlund on a breakaway.
Hornqvist stretched the lead to 3-0 on a power play, and Sweden underlined its control when Mattias Janmark made it 4-0 just 11 seconds later.
Arvidsson added his second into an empty net in the final period, and Adrian Kempe finished it off with the sixth. Sweden earned its ninth win from nine games in this championship.
The U.S. pressured in the opening period, outshooting Sweden 16-8 and 41-19 overall. But it was the Swedes who went ahead. Arvidsson knocked in a loose puck in the crease following a shot from above the right circle by Filip Forsberg.
U.S. captain Patrick Kane, the overall scoring leader, failed to register a point for the first time in the championship.
“We just made too many mistakes and they capitalized,” Kane said. “They’ve got a lot of good players over there and made us pay for those mistakes.
“It’s gonna be tough to regroup (for the bronze-medal game) … but we have to do it.”
The quarterfinals at the 2018 IIHF World Championships are over, and as usual, there were some upsets.
In the first game to go against the standings order, Canada, who finished third in their Group, beat Russia, who finished second. The game went to overtime, and was won on a stunning pass from Connor McDavid to Ryan O’Reilly.
Canada used their deeper forward pool to overcome their deficiencies in net, and all they need to do is repeat that twice more and they’ll have the gold. Darcy Kuemper will likely start again, although there has been no official word on Curtis McElhinney’s reported injury.
In their quarterfinal, the USA had a bit more of a challenge from the Czechs than they likely expected, but they held on to win 3-2.
Sweden also struggled to solve Elvis Merzlikins in their match against Latvia, but they won it 3-2 as well. When you consider how close the Danes came to beating this Latvian team, Sweden’s struggles make it seem like there was a lot of parity in the teams this year.
Finland’s troubles certainly seem to indicate that too. In the upset of the day, Finland and Kasperi Kapanen were beat by the Swiss in a game that the Swiss held sway in from the very beginning. The Swiss were bolstered by the two Nashville Predators, but Roman Josi wasn’t the factor in the game you’d expect. Rather, the entire Swiss team skated fast, controlled the puck and totally disrupted the Finnish attempts at zone entry.
The Shots on Goal were close to even by the end, and considering the best offence in the preliminary round was chasing the play all game, that says the Swiss defending was absolutely amazing. The score finished 3-2 after the Finns pushed hard for the second half of the third period after they’d got their second goal. The unheralded Swiss goalie held firm, and the Finns are out of the tournament.
Both Semifinal games are on Saturday, May 19, and the start times have changed from what we’ve had up to now. All time are Eastern Time:
Sweden vs USA at 9:15 a.m. The television coverage begins at 9 a.m. on TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5
Canada vs Switzerland at 1:15 p.m. Begins at 1 p.m. on TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5.
The bronze medal game is Sunday at 9:30 a.m., and the gold medal game is Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
There is no relegation game, Belarus and Korea will drop down to Division I A play next year, replaced by Great Britain and Italy at next year’s World Championships.
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