For a few hours, the O2 Arena in Prague was unofficially known as “Filipstad,” as explosive Swedish forward Filip Forsberg ran roughshod over Austria at the World Championships, scoring three and adding an assist in a 6-1 beatdown to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Similar to Friday’s stunning shootout victory over the host nation, Sweden came out firing first on all cylinders, with Forsberg opening the scoring with a beautiful solo effort, dangling to keep the puck barely onside in the Austrian zone, walking in and roofing a wristshot over a hapless René Swette for the 1-0 lead. Despite being outshot 13-7 in the first, it seemed that The Eagles were keeping pace, until a pair of Swede goals just 41 seconds apart, both behind-the-net passes to wide open skaters (in this case, Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander) resulted in buried goals past Swette, to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Forsberg show continued midway through the second, with a nice drop pass from Loui Eriksson at the blueline, followed by a beautiful deke past defender Martin Schumnig, left Forsberg alone to rifle goal number two past Swette. Elias Lindholm would make things 5-0 on a tremendous solo effort, intercepting a Brian Lebler pass deep within the Sweden zone, and racing all the way up ice to beat Swette five-hole on a breakaway. And just 121 seconds after that, Forsberg completed the hat trick by picking up a waiting puck from Anton Lander, splitting defenders Alexander Pallestrang and Dominique Heinrich, and roofing his third goal glove side for the 6-0 lead.
Tre Kronor eased up on the gas in the third, nestling a comfortable 6-0 advantage and working to give Anders Nilsson, who only faced 11 shots through two periods, the easy shutout. However, despite a myriad of Austrian penalties in the third, Heinrich was finally able to break the stalemate and get on the board in the 53rd minute, rifling a shot from the top of the slot on a nice behind-the-net feed from Konstantin Komarek to put things at 6-1. But still being outshot 11-6 in the third, and squandering a late power play with a penalty of their own, Sweden cruised to the easy 6-1 final score.
With the victory, Sweden wins their fifth straight International Hockey Lineal Championship match, as part of their 74th reign, marking their second win in Prague after a 6-5 shootout win against the host Czech Republic. This marks the first IHLC matchup in 14 years between Sweden and Austria, who has not held the IHLC since 1931, since an 11-0 Swedish thrashing at the 2001 World Championships in Germany. Tre Kronor next faces Latvia tomorrow here in Prague over the IHLC in Group A play.
03:39 – PEN – Forsberg, high sticking
13:38 – GOAL – Forsberg
14:13 – PEN – Schumnig, holding
18:37 – GOAL – Klefbom (Sjögren, Josefson)
19:18 – GOAL – Lander (Eriksson, Forsberg)
21:49 – PEN – Rahimi, checking from behind + 10 min. misconduct
28:22 – GOAL – Forsberg (Eriksson, Ekman-Larsson)
29:13 – GOAL – Lindholm
31:14 – GOAL – Forsberg (Lander, Ekman-Larsson)
33:31 – PEN – Rask, interference
33:50 – PEN – Pallestrang, tripping
40:14 – PEN – Pallestrang, high sticking
45:29 – PEN – Schumnig, slashing
50:29 – PEN – Peter, holding
53:17 – GOAL – Heinrich (Komarek, Latusa)
56:35 – PEN – Forsberg, tripping
56:49 – PEN – Herburger, high sticking
W: Nilsson (16-17)
L: Swette (18-24), Starkbaum (17-17)
SHOTS ON GOAL
13+17+11 = 41
7+4+6 = 17
Goaltenders: Jhonas Enroth, Anders Nilsson. Defence: Jonas Ahnelöv, Mattias Ekholm, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Oscar Klefbom, John Klingberg, Staffan Kronwall (C), Daniel Rahimi. Forwards: Jimmie Ericsson (A), Loui Eriksson, Filip Forsberg, Simon Hjalmarsson, Jacob Josefson, Anton Lander, Elias Lindholm, Joakim Lindström, Joel Lundqvist (A), Oscar Möller, Victor Rask, Mattias Sjögren.
Goaltenders: Bernhard Starkbaum, René Swette. Defence: Dominique Heinrich, Florian Iberer, Daniel Mitterdorfer, Florian Mühlstein, Alexander Pallestrang, Patrick Peter, Martin Schumnig. Forwards: Alexander Cijan, Mario Fischer, Manuel Geier, Raphael Herburger, Thomas Hundertpfund, Konstantin Komarek, Manuel Latusa, Brian Lebler (A), Nikolas Petrik (A), Michael Raffl, Thomas Raffl (C), Rafael Rotter, Daniel Woger.