Canada 4 - Sweden 5
In a high tempo, run-and-gun affair, Sweden hung on to defeat Canada 5-4 in the second semi-final at Riga Arena Saturday night, thanks to Jonas Nordquist's early second-period goal. The result sets up a Sweden-Czech Republic clash for gold on Sunday, while Canada will battle Finland for bronze in Sunday's early game (Live on TSN/RDS).
Swedish forward Mika Hannula went from hero to goat after taking a five-minute major for viciously cross-checking Sidney Crosby after the tournament scoring leader had tallied Canada's third goal in the second period.
Crosby finished the game with a goal and assist, and, with 16 points, will likely win the tournament scoring title.
Niklas Kronwall, Jorgen Jonsson, Tony Martensson, Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Nordquist scored for Sweden, while Michael Nylander had three assists. Kyle Calder, Mike Comrie, and Patrice Bergeron had Canada's other goals.
Johan Holmqvist made 28 stops for Sweden. Marc Denis and Alex Auld split duties for Canada, which faced 25 Swedish shots, with Auld replacing Denis after Sweden's fifth goal.
Canada was down 5-2, then with 35 seconds left in the second period period, Crosby poked the puck between Holmqvist's feet to make it a 5-3 game before being viciously cross-checked into the end boards by Sweden's Mika Hannula. The teams wound up at 4-on-4 when additional double minors were assessed to Niklas Kronwall and Kyle Calder and a single roughing penalty to Trevor Daley. Canada scored in the third to make it 5-4 and put pressure on until the end, but could not score to tie the game.
(with files from www.ihwc.net)
Preview: The first there times Canada and Sweden met at the world championships was in the 1920s and Canada won all three games by a combined score of 45-1. The Canadian and Sweden have faced each other fives times since the turn of the century and Canada had a 3-2 edge in the wins column. Sweden beat Canada 5-2 in the preliminary round of the 2002 Winter Games. Canada won 3-1 at the 2003 in the preliminary round of the 2003 world tournament and then 3-2 in the final. At the 2004 worlds in Prague, Canada was a 5-3 winner in the gold medal game. The last time they met was in the preliminary round of the 2005 worlds in Innsbruck, and Sweden won 5-4.
Team Canada General Manager Ken Holland is impressed with the way the Canadians handled adversity the one
time they faced it in Latvia. The Canadians had a poor first period against the Czech Republic and were
outscored 3-1 in the opening 20 minutes. Canada rallied to tie the game in the second period and ended up
losing 6-4. The Canadians had a strong team effort in a 4-2 win over Finland. Then against Slovakia,
"We were a little nervous in the first period against Slovakia but we stuck to our game plan and I liked the way we played," Holland said Friday. "Even when the Slovaks started pressing, we did not give them any odd-man rushes."
Canada leads the tournament in goals, with 37. Sidney Crosby has a seven-game point scoring streak and is tied with linemate Patrice in the scoring race, with 13 points apiece.
"That line (Crosby, Bergeron and Bray Boyes) is hungry," says Sweden's Jorgen Jonsson. "We have to watch out for them but we should not try to match lines. It will take a team effort to beat the Canadians."
The Swedes are the Olympic champions and Holland feels winning the gold medal at the Torino Winter Games has boosted their confidence.
"They look like a team that has a lot of confidence. They were impressive in their (quarter-final) win over the United States."
Holland says patience is key to beating Sweden.
"They hold on to the puck and play a puck possession game and we can't run around after them," he said. "You have to be patience and try not to get caught out of position. This will be our toughest opponent.'
Holland is the General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings. Team Canada's captain is Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan, and Holland says Shanahan's experiences in pressure events is a plus for the Canadians.
"He has played in the Olympic Games, the Stanley Cup final, and the world championships," said Holland. "If there is something to be said before the game or in the intermission guys will listen to Brendan. He will calm the players down."
Jonsson is on the verge of possibly completing a first in Swedish hockey and that's winning the Swedish Elite League title, winning Olympic gold and winning a world crown in the same season.
"It is way too early to talk about that," he said. "We have to get past Canada and that won't be easy."
No it won't.
Marc Denis will get the start in net against the Swedes. He is undefeated playing for his country. He had a 7-0-2 record while winning gold medals at the world junior championship in 1996 and 1997 and is 4-0-0 so far in Latvia.
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Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations