Slovakia 0 - Sweden 6
SWEET SHUTOUT SENDS SWEDEN PAST SLOVAKIA
By Joe Fries | Box Score
With a 6-0 shutout of Slovakia in Kamloops Saturday, the Swedes now move on to the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group B. The fourth-place Slovaks will play in the Relegation Round, out of medal contention.
Daniel Larsson was sharp when he needed to be, earning the shutout as his team outshot the Slovaks 22-18. Six different Swedes scored goals in what was a physical affair.
Sweden’s Johan Ryno had a goal and two assists on the night and said his team played a good game. “It seemed in the first period we played with no passion,” said Ryno. Getting the first two goals of the game seemed to take the pressure off his team allowing them to relax a bit, he said. All told, he was quite happy with his team’s performance. “We won 6-0,” said Ryno. “There’s not much to complain about.”
The two teams played a cautious brand of hockey in the early going, though Slovakia perhaps more so than Sweden. The Slovaks were outshot 8-2 and trailed 2-0 after the first period. The Swedes’ highly tuned offence was dazzling at times, with players completing several no-look passes with ease.
Team Sweden opened the scoring at 7:07 when Slovak goaltender Vladimir Kovac stopped a shot from Johan Ryno but gave up a huge rebound to Robin Lindqvist, who scored with a wrist shot from the hash marks.
A power play goal at 13:01 put the Swedes up 2-0. Mattias Ritola stationed himself in front of the Slovak net and deflected Tommy Wargh’s point shot through the legs of a heavily screened Kovac. The Slovaks were assessed five minor penalties in the first period, while the Swedes took two.
The penalty parade continued in the second period. The game lacked flow due to the numerous calls and turned into a physical affair, with both teams dishing out a good number of solid hits. Slovakia was handed three straight power plays to start the period but couldn’t convert, thanks to Larsson’s strong goaltending. That took the wind out of Slovakia’s sails permanently.
The lone goal of the second period came at 14:20. The Swedes swarmed the Slovak net and had a couple of chances before a rebound popped out to Ryno, who, from one knee, fired it past Kovac to put his team up 3-0 heading into the final period.
Three goals in the third period put the game on ice for the Swedes. A turnover just outside the Slovak blueline was collected by Frederik Pettersson, who walked in alone on Kovacs, went to his backhand on a nice deke and put it top shelf at 3:33. Sweden’s fifth goal came when Johannes Salmonsson held his own among three Slovakia defenders in front of their net and managed to pry the puck out to Anton Axelsson, who streaked in from the point and blasted it past Kovac at 9:44.
Michal Valent replaced his mate in the Slovak goal at 10:53, but didn’t fare much better. Less than two minutes later at 12:22, Sebastian Karlsson muscled his way in from the blueline and fired a backhander from a sharp angle that beat Valent five-hole, completing the Swedish rout.
The Slovaks seemed ill-tempered yet unemotional in a game that they had to win in order to stay in medal contention.
“Everything went wrong,” said Slovakia’s Stanislav Lascek, who, with seven points, was in a three-way tie for the tournament scoring lead prior to tonight’s match.
“We talked before the game about what we had to do,” said Lascek. “We had to come out strong…[and] we had to score two goals to win. Our best players didn’t play their best and the Swedish players did.”
Lascek was disappointed with his own performance too.
“I played terrible. When you put this on,” said Lascek, tugging at his sweater, “you’ve gotta be better.”
The Slovaks will try to get better when they face Norway in the Relegation Round on Tuesday at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. Meanwhile, Sweden will continue its quest for a medal when it faces Finland in quarter-final action at GM Place Monday.
PREVIEW: SLOVAKIA - SWEDEN
By Joe Fries
Slovakia: Any number of clichés apply here, but it truly is do-or-die time for the Slovaks. Anything less
than a win over Sweden will send Team Slovakia to the Relegation Round.
Sweden: The potential ramifications of tonight’s two Group B games are endless, but one thing is certain: a win will guarantee the Swedes a spot in the quarter-finals. With this task at hand, Sweden, currently on a two-game winning streak, will put its fired-up offence to work again tonight against the Slovaks, who have allowed 15 goals so far in the tournament. Only four Swedish players are playing in North American leagues, and Tre Kronor could be over-matched against a more physical Team Slovakia. Two men named Nicklas (Bergfors and Backstrom) collected four points each against Latvia, and will try to maintain their momentum here. Defenceman Oscar Hedman has three points in three games and has the tournament’s best plus-minus rating at +7. Alexander Edler of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets has just one point, but has been steady and dependable on the Swedish blueline. Both teams are middle of the pack in terms of power play and penalty killing, but the Swedes are the least-penalized team in the tournament, with just 46 PIM, and will need to maintain their calm demeanour against feisty Slovakia. Goaltending has not been remarkable for the Swedes, ranked just eighth overall. Magnus Akerlund has started two games. He allowed two goals on 17 shots last night, but wasn’t tested enough to get into any sort of a rhythm. Daniel Larsson looked good in his victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday night, stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced. The Swedes, however, are being tight-lipped about who will get the start in net tonight. Look for an offensive-minded and energetic Swedish squad to come out firing. They know they need a victory here, but this well-coached squad will have its hands full with a desperate Team Slovakia.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications