International Ice Hockey Federation

Remain undefeated

Swedes can't muster enough against strong Russians

Published 21.04.2015 23:13 GMT+2 | Author Chapin Landvogt
Remain undefeated
LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 21: Russia's Mikhail Vorobyov #10 celebrates after a first period goal against Sweden while Jonathan Leman #8 looks on during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
With Russia safely in first place, Sweden entered the game trying not to finish fourth.

Already with two losses in the preliminary round before facing the undefeated Russians, Sweden entered the game knowing that a victory would pit them against archrival Finland in the first round of the playoffs. A loss would see them finish fourth behind Slovakia (4 points) and thus set the blue and gold up with a first round playoff match against an undefeated Canadian club.

All the more surprising that Russia was able to open the game with a goal at the 17 second mark, when Mikhail Vorobyov was the benefactor of passes from Danil Yurtaikin and Denis Guryanov. But no sooner did the shock set in, the Swedes found an answer. Defenseman Jesper Lindgren took a pass from Rasmus Asplund and entered the zone on his off side, placing a shot past Russian goalie Anton Krasotkin.

After that, a game of chess set in until Jens Looke appeared to suffer a facial injury. His stick flew out of his hand and he fell down, remaining on the ice motionless for several minutes until he was assisted up teammates and staff members, then  removed slowly, puting no pressure on his left leg as he made his way to the bench and into the locker room.

What ensued was a faceoff in the Russian zone that led to a goalmouth scramble and a goal for Sweden. Linus Lindstrom was the beneficiary of the play, giving Sweden the 2-1 lead.

For Sweden a power play opportunity occurred right off the bat in the second period and after Russia was caught on a poor change, the Swedes charged into the Russian zone and Linus Olund was able to bang in the rebound of his own shot to give Sweden the 3-1 lead.

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Later in the period, at the 12:17 mark, another goalmouth scramble in the Russian zone led to fisticuffs between Russia’s Nikolai Chebykin and Sweden’s Lukas Zetterberg. Both threw several punches and were sent to the penalty box, each with a teammate. The melee resulted in a two minute power play for Sweden.

Something that became an advantage for Russia.

With 30 seconds left in the non-productive power play, Denis Guryanov raced down the left wing side and pumped a slapshot into the far corner of the Swedish net. Goalie Daniel Marmenlind seemed to be completely fooled by the shot. The goal came at the 29:13 mark of the second.

Tempers flared throughout the ongoings heading into the final minutes of the period until a Russian pass to the Swedish slot got caught in the feet of several players in the slot before sliding into the goal. The play was reviewed by video and determined to be a legitimate goal. The score was then 3-3 with a little over 2 minutes 30 to play and would be at the conclusion of the period.

The Russians entered the third period guns a blazing, but it was Sweden that took the lead when Gustav Olhaver shoved a puck in from the side of the net after a Jacob Larsson shot.

That lead was eradicated when Russia gained another power play with a little over 12 minutes to play in the third. A big rebound in front of Marmenlind was whacked in with authority by Guryanov. Alexander Yakovenko and Dmitri Zhukenov got the assists on the goal that made it 4-4.

After that, danger only seemed to come from the Russians, even if the Swedes tended to spend more time with the puck. With just over seven minutes to play, Russia took the 5-4 lead when Dmitri Sokolov hammered in a one-timer off a lovely feed by Marmenlind from the slot.

Not even two minutes later, Artyom Ivanyuzhenkov blocked a Swedish shot, outraced the defenseman and deked out Marmenlind to give Russia a 6-4 lead with a little less than 6 minutes and 30 seconds to play.

At that point, Swedish coach Jim Brithen decided enough was enough and pulled his goalie a few moments later with just under 6 minutes left to play. Sweden was able to sustain an attack for more than three minutes and then even earned a power play with 2:55 to play. Having lost the faceoff in the Russian zone, Denis Guryanov jumped through the crowd with the puck and slipped it into the empty goal. That gave him the hat trick and Russia a commanding 7-4 lead, which turned into the final score.

Sweden outshot Russia 46 to 36, but it just wasn’t enough and with the loss, they will finish fourth in the group and face Canada in the semifinals starting Thursday this week.