International Ice Hockey Federation

Back in the groove

Back in the groove

Sweden regains momentum with convincing 7-1 victory

Published 18.04.2015 22:11 GMT+2 | Author Chapin Landvogt
Back in the groove
LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 18: Sweden's Carl Grundstrom #17 scores a third period goal against Germany's Patrick Berger #29 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
After initial tournament losses for both Sweden and Germany, both teams headed into today’s game looking to get back on track.

The first period proved to be a tight one and Germany was clearly ready to play a more effective game than it had against Russia, creating many more chances, but just couldn’t keep Sweden off the board in the process.

The first opportunity was gained by Sweden, which was awarded a power play after just roughly 50 seconds. Despite setting up appropriately, nothing more than one Oliver Kylington slapshot proved to be much of a challenge for Germany, which not only killed off the penalty, but gained momentum, able to bring play to the Swedes for a good bit of the next five minutes.

After roughly 12 minutes of play, underager Tobias Eder was given the puck in the slot, which he riffled at goaltender Felix Sandstrom, who could do little more than leave a juicy rebound. This led to some hectic play in the Swedish zone until Sebastian Olsson was sprung on a breakaway caused on the tail of a poorly timed change by both German defensemen. Olsson swooped in from the left side and wristed a bullet over German goalie Mirko Pantowski’s left shoulder to make it 1-0.

Ironically, this seemed to light a fire under Germany’s belt, who then spent over a minute in the Swedish zone, twisting and turning until forward Julian Napravnik sent a beautiful pass to Lois Spitzner, who was robbed by Sandstrom on an excellent wrist shot.

Just 20 seconds later, a scrum in front of the German net led to what appeared to be a Swedish goal, but referee Andreas Koch quickly waived the goal off, claiming it entered the net on a kicking motion.

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Play was back and forth without much ado until German defenseman Max Glassl fired a rocket past the right post, having snuck in from the point to receive and excellent shot. Seconds later, Pantkowski made an excellent pad save on a one timer by Linus Olund, which was set up perfectly by Brynas SHL forward Jens Looke, expected to be taken amongst the top 60 players in this summer’s NHL draft.

Sweden again failed to capitalize on a power play opportunity with five minutes to go in the first period and both teams exchanged somewhat dangerous slot-based opportunities within the final minutes of the period.

The period ended with Germany getting its first power play with 26 seconds to go after Looke was given a somewhat weak call for hooking. Before the period ended, Simon Schutz was able to send a rocket on goal, which led to yet another juicy rebound that a Swedish defenseman was fortunately able to clear right before the buzzer rang.

In the 2nd period, Germany continued to establish pressure throughout its power play, with the most dangerous scoring opportunity coming from Julian Napravnik just to the left of the Swedish net as the penalty expired.

This led to a phase the goalies for both teams were peppered with shots, particularly Pantkowski, as the game developed a wild west, run-and-gun mentality. This ended up being to Sweden’s advantage. At the 15:42 mark, Olsson was fed with a beautiful through-pass by John Dahlstrom and then muscled his way past the German defender to deke out Pantkowski and slip the puck under his glove hand for a 2-0 lead.

A power play for Sweden at the 14:30 broke the game open when top NHL prospect Joel Eriksson Ek received a pass from Filip Ahl and skated from his own blueline through the German defense just to make a nifty move to the left of the net, tucking the puck behind Pantkowski’s right leg for the 3-0 lead.

A boarding call against Germany with 12 minutes left in the second period was then also capitalized on by Sweden thanks to a heavy wrist shot from the top of the slot by Rasmus Asplund, which somehow slipped through Pantkowski’s pads. Defenseman Kylington and center Eriksson Ek got the assists.

Opportunities continued to be created by Sweden throughout the period, to which Pantkowski continued to have an answer until a wrist shot from Eriksson Ek from the right side of the slot slipped by him at the 3:18 mark, making the score 5-0.

Getting yet another power play near the end of the second period, Olsson completed the hat trick by slipping a puck in during a goalmouth scramble, giving Sweden a decisive 6-0 lead.

Sweden continued to dominate play throughout the third period, but Germany did manage to score its first goal of the tournament when winger Tobias Eder raced into the Swedish zone and fired a wrister by Sandstrom on his stick side. This ended a 109 minute scoring drought to begin the tournament.

Shortly thereafter, a penalty shot was awarded to Sweden Carl Grundstrom, who slid a backhander past Germany’s new goalie, Patrick Berger, who replaced Pantkowski for the third period.

The game would get a bit sloppy and for Sweden, it took on a practice game atmosphere, one in which Germany was also able to solidify itself a bit defensively and Berger made some very big saves.

Named Sweden’s player of the game, Sebastian Olsson summarized, “We weren’t so happy with the game against Slovakia, so we had to show a different face today. It wasn’t the best we can play, but I think it was a strong showing to win 7-1 after the initial loss.”

When the final buzzer rang, it was a clear 7-1 victory for Sweden, allowing the nation to get its motor running in time for its game tomorrow against the USA.

For German coach Jim Setters, the loss was disappointing, but there were positives to be taken, “At some time in the tournament, the bubble is going to burst. We’re creating scoring chances, but we’re not putting the puck in the net. As the game wears on and you don’t score goals, the other team gets stronger. But yes, we fought hard and created chances. In the next game, they’ve got to go in.”

For Sweden, the game was a must win in rebounding from this surprise loss to Slovakia in game one, “We were a little anxious at the start, but the boys handled it well and we had a good power play. That was the key for us today. We could use the second period to decide the game and carry the victory through the third period. We’re satisfied with the win.”

Sweden plays tomorrow evening against the USA at 5 pm. Germany’s next game is against Slovakia at 6:45 on April 20th. Both games will be in Lucerne.


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