Team Sweden won the 2018 IIHF Hockey World Championship

Team Sweden

Team Sweden won their 2nd consecutive gold in the IIHF 2018 Hockey World Championship in Denmark. As in the IIHF 2017, the final game was decided by a shootout. Then, Sweden’s national team “Three Crowns” defeated Team Canada. This year, Switzerland was the opponent.

The road to the finals

The 2018 edition of the Three Crowns was characterized by two features a) 20 players from the national hockey league (NHL), b) an average age of only 24 years. The team got the best possible start of the group stage by defeating Belarus 5-0. Game number two, against Czech Republic, was tougher, but Sweden managed to grab the odd goal 3-2 win. France was defeated 4-0 in an unusual dirty game. The game against Austria became a feast among the crowd as well as on the ice (7-0). The fifth game, against Slovakia, was tighter and Sweden managed to score the decider, 4-3, in overtime. The upcoming opponent in the final, Switzerland, was outmaneuvered with relative easy, in a 5-3 victory. The last game, against Russia, was a group final where the winner would face Latvia and the loser Canada. The Three Crowns managed to come back and turn 0-1 to 3-1. Russia later lost the quarterfinal against Canada in overtime.

In the playoffs, the quarterfinal against Latvia Sweden showed a somewhat crampy performance, where Latvia played an effective defense, and deadly counterattacks. Finally, Sweden managed to win 3-2. In the semifinal, Team USA led by Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane was waiting. USA eliminated Czech Republic in the quarterfinal. The last time USA won a world championship was in 1960(!). They were the best team in the first period of the semifinal, but somehow Sweden managed to get away with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. In the second period, USA got a 4 minute powerplay only to see Magnus Pääjärvi score 2-0. USA never recovered after this. After an idiot move by Johnny Gaudreau, using his stick as a baseball bat, Sweden scored in their powerplay. Then, another quick goal came from nowhere, and Sweden was suddenly up by 4 after 40 minutes of play. The final period was basically just about playing on the result for the Three Crowns, and the final score was written to 6-0. USA won the bronze game against Canada later (4-1).

On the other side of the playoff tree, a disciplined Switzerland first eliminated group winners Finland 3-2, and then Canada with the same figures.

Sweden won the final against Switzerland

The final game between Sweden and Switzerland was a replay of the 2013 final, when Sweden won on home ice (first team to do that since the Soviet Union gold in 1986), defeating Switzerland 5-1. Like then, Switzerland got the 1-0 lead. Sweden got the quick equalized and the score was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. Switzerland got the 2-1 lead in the second period. Then, Sweden put the pedal to the metal and spent over three minutes in the offensive zone. 2-2 came in the powerplay.In the third period, both teams had their chances to score the decider. Sweden could not convert on a couple of breakaways.

The overtime was characterized by careful 4 vs 4 play, where no team wanted to make any mistake. This game was to be decided by a shootout. At stake was Switzerland’s first world championship gold ever, or Sweden’s 11th. The Swiss scored at their first penalty shot, while Sweden missed. However, after two goals by Oliver Ekman-Larsson (who also scored in the shootout against Canada in 2017) and Filip Forsberg, Sweden won the shootout with two goals to one. The victory gave Sweden and Three Crowns their 2nd consecutive world championship win, just like they did with their young team in 1991 + 1992. One has to feel sorry for Switzerland who manage to pull off their game plan with precision and was as close to a gold medal as a team can come.

The Swedish gold was a result of hard work of coach Rikard Grönborg and his staff. They have managed to raise the professionalism in the Three Crowns a few notches, and make the world championship an attractive tournament and end of season for the NHL players that are eliminated in the North American Stanley Cup playoffs. The players enjoy the idea of youthful entusiasm and classic, Sweden defensive plays. This is the New Sweden!

IIHF World Championship 2017: Sweden won the gold!

Team Sweden

When Sweden’s head coach Rikard Grönborg got 19 reinforcements from the NHL in this year’s edition of the Three Crowns, Sweden was ranked as one of the favorites for the gold in the World Championship behind Canada and Russia. Strong names such as Nicklas Bäckström, William Nylander and Henrik Lundqvist could be found in the squad. However, at the start of the tournament, Sweden had difficulties getting their game together. Sloppy plays and unnecessary penalties put their mark on the games. Sweden beat the weaker nations in the group stage, but lost to the main opponents USA and Russia. USA won the group and Sweden grabbed the third position, behind Russia.

Playoffs

So far, a Three Crowns filled with NHL-players had two losses against Russia and the United States and wins against Germany, Latvia, Denmark, Slovakia and Italy. In the quarterfinals, Switzerland awaited. They managed to get second place in their group, behind Canada. Sweden got the expected victory, 3-1. Rough for Switzerland, who has been eliminated by Sweden a number of times through the years, including in the World Championships in 1998, 2013 and the Olympic Games in 2006.

In the semi-finals, the Nordic rivals Finland awaited. They had a sluggish introduction to the tournament, but managed to beat a sleepy United States in the quarterfinals. Sweden tamed the Finnish lions, through a 4-1 victory.

On the other side of the playoff tree, Canada had advanced to the finals. They beat the host nation Germany in the quarterfinals, 2-1. The semifinal against Russia was a fast-phased game, with Russia leading 2-0 before the third period. Canada showed great morale and managed to turn the game in their favor through four straight goals. Impressive. The question was how Three Crowns would be able to beat their nightmare opponent in the final? Sweden had lost against Canada in the World Championship final before in 1997, 2003 and 2004.

The final game

Three Crowns played a convincing game in the finals, with disciplined defense, stable attacks and a Henrik Lundqvist on top in the goal. The first period ended scoreless. The first goal of the game came in the second period 20 seconds before the break. Victor Hedman sent a bouncing puck on goal in the boxplay. Somehow the puck found the back of the Canadian net. 1-0 Sweden. In the beginning of the third period, Canada tied the game after a cheap penalty. Both teams then had a powerplay each without being able to convert. The score was 1-1 after 60 minutes of play.

The game could not be decided during overtime and the shootout awaited. Henrik Lundqvist came out on top, stopping four out of four penalty shots, which was enough to win the gold after Nicklas Bäckström and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on their penalties. Another classic shootout, which made many Swedes remember the final against Canada in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, where Sweden won the gold after a classic penalty shot by Peter Forsberg.

A classic Swedish team with both old and new profiles won the Three Crown’s 10th World Championship.

William Nylander was named the best player of the tournament. His victory jump in the hands of Henrik Lundqvist is already legendary.

Captain Joel Lundqvist, Henrik’s twin brother, took his third World Championship gold. In a Three Crown without NHL reinforcements, Grönborg expects he will lead the team in the Olympic Games of 2018.

Nicklas Bäckström finally got to play the final he missed in the 2014 Olympic Games in.

Anton Strålman finally got to win something in his career.

There are many stories to tell about this classic Swedish team!

IIHF World Championship 2017: Quarter finals

The group stage of the Hockey World Championship 2017 is over and a total of eight teams have advanced to the playoffs. The following teams will face each other in the quarter finals on Thursday May 18:

Switzerland – Sweden

A NHL-reinforced Three Crowns advanced to the playoffs without any major issues. On the other hand, Sweden lost to both Russia and the United States, which were the biggest competitors in the group. Sweden has played a bit sloppy and has suffered from many unnecessary penalties. However, the years when Sweden has won the gold, they have usually done so after a poor group stage, followed by excellent playoffs. Switzerland grabbed a spot in the playoffs after some mixed achievements, an overtime win over Canada perhaps being the biggest one. Sweden has good experiences of playing Switzerland in the playoffs; the gold years 1998 and 2013, and the Olympic Games in Torino 2006. The winner faces the United States or Finland in the semifinal.

Canada – Germany

One of the host nations, Germany, advanced to the playoffs. The World Championships are played in Cologne and Paris. Unfortunately, France did not succeed in advancing from the group stage this year, despite a convincing win against Finland. Canada won its group comfortably and is one of the favorites of the gold, together with Russia and Sweden. The winner faces Russia or the Czech Republic.

Russia – Czech Republic

Russia finished second in the group after losing against the United States in the last match. In the quarterfinals, the Czech Republic is difficult to assess: they have many reinforcements from the NHL but have not more than they should in the group stage. The winner faces Canada or Germany.

USA – Finland

Finland is the disappointment of the tournament so far, including a 1-5 (!) loss against France. The lions barely made it to the quarterfinals and here they will face USA who has played an convincing game so far, winning their group ahead of Russia and Sweden.On the other hand, Finland can play completely without pressure and expectations, so you never know. The winner faces Switzerland or Sweden.

We believe these teams will meet in the semifinals:

Sweden – USA
Russia – Canada

Triple Gold Club of Hockey

The triple gold club of hockey consists of those players who have won 1. Stanley Cup 2. Olympics and 3. World Championships. The latest addition to the club is Pavel Datsyuk, who became a member when Russia won the 2018 Olympics. When Canada won the gold in WC 2015, Sidney Crosby became the 26th member of the club. He is the only player that has been captain for his team in all three tournaments. When Sweden won their second Olympic hockey gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics, Peter Forsberg became the only player that has won the tournaments two times. Below are all the members, sorted by country. As we can see, Canada and Sweden is in a shared top position in a club that so far only has members from four countries. Finland, USA and Slovakia are trailing behind. Finland and Slovakia lack Olympic gold medals while USA haven’t won the World Championships since 1960 and the Olympics since Miracle on Ice 1980.

Sweden (9)

Tomas Jonsson
Mats Näslund
Håkan Loob
Peter Forsberg
Nicklas Lidström
Fredrik Modin
Niklas Kronwall
Henrik Zetterberg
Mikael Samuelsson

Canada (9)

Rob Blake
Joe Sakic
Brendan Shanahan
Scott Niedermayer
Chris Pronger
Erik Staal
Jonathan Toews
Patrice Bergeron
Sidney Crosby
Corey Perry

Russia (7)

Valerij Kamenski
Alexej Gusarov
Vjateslav Fetisov
Igor Larionov
Alexander Mogilny
Vladmir Malakhov
Pavel Datsyuk

Czech Republic(2)

Jaromir Jagr
Jiri Slegr

The only coach that is a member of the club is Canada’s Mike Babcock.

Ice Hockey World Championships 2015: Results from the semifinals

International ice hockey

Canada keep their dominance in the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. After beating the host nation they will now face Russia in the final, who won the semifinal against USA.

Canada 2-0 Czech Republic

The crowd in O2 Arena got to see a one-sided affair with a busy Pavelec in the Czechs goal. 8:40 into the first period Sidney Crosby and Jordan Eberle assisted Taylor Hall who did no mistake, making it 1-0 to Team Canada. While Canada dominated the game, they lacked their regular effectiveness, hitting the posts and crossbar a number of times. 9 minutes into the second period Jason Spezza increased the lead to 2-0. Czech Republic thought they reduced the lead to 2-1 but the referee did wash out, making a call for a questionable offside in front of Mike Smith in the Canadian goal.

USA 0-3 Russia

The second period in the semifinal between these two teams was one of the best periods in the tournament. Both teams exchanged chances and the score could easily have been 3-3 at the 40 minutes break. However, that was not the case and both teams went into the third period with no goals scored. Seven minutes into the third period, Mozyakin skated into the offensive zone and shot the first goal of the game for Russia. It was a good shot, but looking at all the clear goal chances in the second period, it felt like it came from nowhere. The second goal also came from a great individual effort. A day ago, superstar Alexander Ovechkin lost game seven in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Stanley Cup with his Washington Capitals as New York Rangers won in overtime.  Now in the World Championships, he got the puck in front of the net and put a laser beam behind Connor Hellebuyck in the American goal. This was now Russia’s game all over. Shipachyov scored 3-0 on a rebound. Team USA gambled by pulling their goalie with four minutes left but this resulted in a beautiful Russian goal in open net: Malkin to Ovechkin to Malkin, bam! 4-0 Russia, game over.

Russia vs Canada in the final

Russia and Canada will play the final Sunday May 17. Russia won the World Championships in Minsk last year. The last time Canada won the tournament was in 2007. Russia beat Canada in the 2008 and 2009 finals. The final 2008 was a spectacular win on Canadian home soil. However, this year Canada has dominated the tournament with superstars like Sidney Crosby and Tyler Seguin. The final will be a blast, no matter what team wins the gold.

Ice Hockey World Championships 2015: Results from the semifinals

International ice hockey

Canada keep their dominance in the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. After beating the host nation they will now face Russia in the final, who won the semifinal against USA.

Canada 2-0 Czech Republic

The crowd in O2 Arena got to see a one-sided affair with a busy Pavelec in the Czechs goal. 8:40 into the first period Sidney Crosby and Jordan Eberle assisted Taylor Hall who did no mistake, making it 1-0 to Team Canada. While Canada dominated the game, they lacked their regular effectiveness, hitting the posts and crossbar a number of times. 9 minutes into the second period Jason Spezza increased the lead to 2-0. Czech Republic thought they reduced the lead to 2-1 but the referee did wash out, making a call for a questionable offside in front of Mike Smith in the Canadian goal.

USA 0-3 Russia

The second period in the semifinal between these two teams was one of the best periods in the tournament. Both teams exchanged chances and the score could easily have been 3-3 at the 40 minutes break. However, that was not the case and both teams went into the third period with no goals scored. Seven minutes into the third period, Mozyakin skated into the offensive zone and shot the first goal of the game for Russia. It was a good shot, but looking at all the clear goal chances in the second period, it felt like it came from nowhere. The second goal also came from a great individual effort. A day ago, superstar Alexander Ovechkin lost game seven in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Stanley Cup with his Washington Capitals as New York Rangers won in overtime.  Now in the World Championships, he got the puck in front of the net and put a laser beam behind Connor Hellebuyck in the American goal. This was now Russia’s game all over. Shipachyov scored 3-0 on a rebound. Team USA gambled by pulling their goalie with four minutes left but this resulted in a beautiful Russian goal in open net: Malkin to Ovechkin to Malkin, bam! 4-0 Russia, game over.

Russia vs Canada in the final

Russia and Canada will play the final Sunday May 17. Russia won the World Championships in Minsk last year. The last time Canada won the tournament was in 2007. Russia beat Canada in the 2008 and 2009 finals. The final 2008 was a spectacular win on Canadian home soil. However, this year Canada has dominated the tournament with superstars like Sidney Crosby and Tyler Seguin. The final will be a blast, no matter what team wins the gold.

Ice Hockey World Championships 2015: Finnish superzeroes

Team Finland

Before tonight’s game against Slovakia, Finland had not let in a goal for three games, after beginning the tournament with a 1-5 loss against Team USA. They were thus chasing a tournament record (in modern time) for most minutes without letting in a goal. In the other games today France put up a good fight against Canada, as did Switzerland against Sweden. Russia crushed little brother Belarus and Latvia and Austria got some important points in the bottom of group A. Denmark and Norway met in the Viking Derby of this tournament.

Sweden 2-1 (ot) Switzerland

Sweden got the early lead after a goal by Elias Lindholm seven minutes into the first period. In the same period Switzerland got the equalizer according to the referee but an awake goal referee called for attention, noting that the puck didn’t cross the goal line. However, in the third period Switzerland got the whole puck over the line, again after a decision by the goal judge, tying the game which went to overtime. There, after another odd call from the referee, resulting in a penalty for Switzerland, Filip Forsberg scored the decisive goal for Sweden.

France 3-4 Canada

Tyler Seguin and Jordan Eberle gave Canada the 2-0 lead in the first period while France could reduce it to one goal before the first break. Seguin scored his second power play goal of the day in the second period, giving Canada a comfortable 3-1 lead. However, France came back in the third period, tying the game 3-3. After a boarding penalty on Teddy Trabichet, Canada could once again score in power play with 11 minutes left of the third period. 3-4 was the final result and Canada got revenge on France who won the game between the two teams in the 2014 World Championships.

Belarus 0-7 Russia

Belarus has been the surprise team in group B so far in this tournament, winning against leading team USA the other night. However, against big brother in the east, things didn’t quite go their way. Ilya Kovalchuk began the goal scoring with his 1-0 goal in the first period. After 60 minutes Russia had seven different goal scorers in the protocol and won the game 7-0.

Finland 3-0 Slovakia

As mentioned above, Finland were chasing a record for not letting in goals. Their star goalkeeper Pekka Rinne was ill and had to watch the game from the spectator stands however. 20-year-old talent Juuse Saros got to guard the Finnish net today. He did no mistake. After 40 minutes of play the score was 0-0. Finland scored three straight goals in the third period, letting in zero. The modern time record is 242 minutes and 38 seconds without giving up a goal. In 1937 Great Britains Jimmy Foster played 315 minutes without letting in a goal. At that time the games were played for 3×15 minutes. For the last years, Finnish hockey has been more defensive based than in the 90’s when they were more known for their speed.

Austria 1-2 (ot) Latvia

Extremely important points were at stake in this game where both teams are risking elimination from the tournament. The score was 1-1 after 60 minutes of play and Latvia scored the decisive 2-1 goal in overtime. This places Latvia in sixth place with four points, before France with 3 points and Austria last with 3 points and worse goal difference than France (internal result will count before goal difference). The last team of the group will be regelated to division 1. Lets take a look at the teams coming schedule and predict who will be regelated:

France: Sweden, Latvia, prediction: 0 points = 3 points in total
Latvia: France, prediction: 3 points = 7 points in total
Austria: Germany, Canada, prediction: 0 points = 3 points in total

According to the above, internal result will decide if France or Austria gets regelated. Things aren’t looking good for Austria since they lost 0-2 against France and their best hope is to grab a point or two against Germany.

Ice Hockey World Championships 2015: Jaromir Jagr scored again

Czech Republic superstar and veteran, 43 year old Jaromir Jagr scored for the second game/day in a row when the Czechs beat Latvia with 4-2. He also scored yesterday when Czech Republic lost to Sweden after a shootout. Latvia, who lost to Canada with 6-1 yesterday, got a good start of tonights game, taking the 1-0 lead. The teams followed each other to 2-2 in the second period. However, too many penalties for Latvia (including one 5 minute major for spearing) made Czech Republic being able to score 2-2 and 3-2. Jagr scored the 3rd goal. Goaltender Salak was replaced after Lativa’s second goal and will probably be the second keeper in the rest of this tournament. Voracek scored 4-2 in the last period. Czech Republic’s next game will be against Canada on Monday.

Slovakia beat Denmark after shootout

Denmark were in the lead with 1-0 against Slovakia before the third period. Then game a goal explosion. Slovakia tied the game and went ahead by 2-1. Denmark scored 2-2 half a minute later. 14 seconds later Slovakia went up in a 3-2 lead. With two minutes left of the game, Denmark managed to tie the game once again. The overtime period was goalless and Slovakia could win the game after the shootout. Important point for Denmark. Questionable first game by Slovakia who almost have the home team advantage since they are playing their games in Ostrava near the border.

Austria scored a late equalizer against Switzerland

Austria is new to the highest division in the World Championships this year. In the game against Switzerland the teams followed each other to 2-2 a bit into the thir period before Matthias Bieber could give Switzerland the lead with 9 minutes to go. However, with less than one minute to go Michael Raffl, assisted by Thomas Raffl could score tie the game which went to a scoreless overtime. In the shootout Austria’s Konstantin Komarek scored the decisive penalty shot and Switzerland once again show that they have troubles playing against weaker teams.

Other results

The score between Germany and France were 1-1 when Patrick Reimer scored the game-winning goal for Germany with less than a minute left to go. Norway took the lead against team USA who came back and won an odd-goal 2-1 victory. Belarus won against Slovenia 4-2. Slovenian superstar Anze Kopitar got one assist in the game.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to Sweden versus Austria. Will Austria manage to get another victory or will Three Crowns come out as the stronger team?

We remember: The 1995 World Ice Hockey Championships

Globen

In 1995 the World Ice Hockey Championships were played in Sweden. For a long time many people looked forward being starstruck while watching the tournament since it was a lockout in the National Hockey League that year. That meant that all the professional players were available to represent their countries. Series of collector cards with stars like Peter Forsberg, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, among others were printed. However, the lockout ended which resulted in fewer big stars in the World Championships than usual.

The group stage

The group stage were played in Gävlerinken and Globe Arena in Sweden. The teams were divided into two groups of seven teams each. The four best teams in each group reached the quarterfinals. Russia won group 1 before Italy (!), France (!) and Canada in fourth place. Germany and Switzerland missed the playoffs. In group 2 team USA won the group before Finland and Sweden. Czech Republic finished fourth. Norway and Austria missed the playoffs.

The playoffs

In the playoffs, USA who won group 2 were eliminated against Canada. Finland and Sweden got easier journeys against Italy and France. Tough luck for USA. In the semifinals Finland beat Czech Republic, reaching their second consecutive World Championship-final. In 1994 they lost against team Canada after penalties. Canada won their first gold medal since 1961 while Finland still had zero gold medals before the 1995 tournament.

Canada were drawn against Sweden in the semifinal. The teams met in the 1994 Olympic final were Sweden won after a magic penalty by a young Peter Forsberg. Once again we got to enjoy a dramatic and intense game between two great nations of hockey. Once again Sweden managed to get the win after an overtime goal by Daniel Alfredsson.

In the final, however, Finland was the better team. Ville Peltonen scored a hat-trick in a one-sided game that ended with a Finnish World Championship gold, their first, after beating their nordic rivals with 4-1. This year Finland had a splendid team in Europe, starring names like Jere Lehtinen, Saku Koivu, goaltender Jarmo Myllys among others. They had a significant advantage when the NHL season got a late start. In the absence of established hockey stars we got to see some future ones instead.

This was just one of many interesting meetings between Sweden and Finland. The two teams have faced each other plenty of times in World Cups, World Championships and Olympics. We will be back with a top-10-list!

Team USA won the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship

USA ladies ice hockey

North America keep their dominance in the women’s major hockey tournaments, with the European teams trailing behind. In the semifinals of the 2015 Women’s World Championship in Malmö, Sweden, USA won against Russia 13-1 and Canada beat Finland 3-0.

USA won the gold, Finland got the bronze

The final game between Candada and USA was dramatic. USA were ahead 5-2 in the second period but before the middle act was over, Canada had tied the game 5-5. However, in the third and last period, team USA were the stronger team and managed to get the tournament win with two goals, winning the final game 7-5. In the bronze game Finland won against Russia with 4-1. These results give a good picture over how the international women’s hockey are positioned right now. Canada and USA are in the top, and they have been there in all world tournaments and olympics except for the 2006 Torino games where Sweden managed to beat USA in the semifinals which led to a silver medal. Of the European teams Finland has a clear advantage right now. Comparing the semifinals, losing 3-0 to Canada is nothing to be ashamed by while Russia let in 13 goals against USA. Behind these four teams come Sweden and Switzerland. Sweden has not been able to build on the success in the 2006 olympics and sadly the team consists of amateur players who only can play hockey part-time.

Until the European teams create some sort of professional incitement for the female players they will continue to battle for the bronze medals. And it is doubtful if they can continue to take pride in calling themself the most equal countries in the world. Not in hockey town anyway..