Felix Sandström made ninesaves en route to a shutout in his first game in the tournament as Sweden beat Denmark 5-0.
Thomas Lillie at the other end of the rink faced 48 shots.
The win over Denmark also meant that Sweden clinched the group win. Even if Sweden loses its last game to Canada and Team USA wins its two remaining games, the Americans can only tie Sweden’s nine points, in which case the Swedes have the head-to-head advantage thanks to their 1-0 victory in the second game of the tournament.
“I haven’t given the quarter-final opponent any thought, but of course it would be nice to play against Finland in Helsinki, on their home ice,” Swedish defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “But it actually does not matter one bit, we have to be ready to beat all of them to go all the way.”
To be blunt, the game between Sweden and Denmark was over after just 13 seconds. That’s how long it took Adrian Kempe to score the game’s first goal. Even more important than the actual goal, and the all-important first lead, was the way he scored it.
The Danes turned the puck over in the neutral zone, Kempe picked it up in the face-off circle and turned right back towards the Danish net. With a few quick steps he powered past the Danish defenceman, who stumbled onto the ice trying to keep up with the big Swede, and could just watch as Kempe fired a wrist shot past Thomas Lillie in Denmark’s goal.
“We got a poor start to the game and it was really tough after that. We were hoping to upset them, but we played against a really good team,” said Denmark’s player of the game, defenceman Mathias Lassen, who plays for Leksand in the second-tier Swedish league.
“I think we had chances to score ten goals, but we scored five, and got the win,” said Sweden’s Oskar Lindblom.
Sweden outshot Denmark 14-2 in the first period and had several excellent chances to extend their lead, but only defenceman Gustav Norling managed to get the puck over the goal line when he fired a shot from the point on power play. Lillie didn’t see the puck at all from behind Kempe and Axel Holmström who screened him.
“We tried our best, but we ended up spending most of the game in our zone,” Lassen said.
The middle frame was, not unexpectedly, not as exciting as the Danes seemed to have lost hope, while the Swedes took their foot off the pedal a little bit. With 2:43 remaining in the period, Oskar Lindblom gave Sweden an even bigger buffer when he deflected Adam Ollas-Mattsson’s shot from the point.
“It was a great pass, I just tried to get my stick on it, and it was nice to see the puck go in,” Lindblom said.
The third period was halfway through when Jens Lööke found William Lagesson on the point. He took a couple of strides towards the net and fired the puck through the same hole as Kempe in the first period and made it 4-0 for Sweden at 10:02.
Sweden’s leading scorer Alexander Nylander was not left without a point in this game, either, as he sealed the final score, 5-0, with 4:05 remaining in the third period.
“It was a tough game, especially for a defenceman, since we had the play in their zone so much, so I ended up spending a lot of time standing on the blueline,” said Forsling.
Denmark will play their last preliminary round game tomorrow, against the U.S., while the Swedes take on Canada in the last game of the preliminary round.
The Swedes and Danes had played against each other just twice in the history of the World Junior Championship. Sweden won the first two – 10-1 in 2007 and 5-1 last year – and they also won the third one just as easily.
This time, Denmark could not score even once.
IHLC: With the win, Sweden retains their 31st and current International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won from Switzerland and retained against the United States here in Helsinki. This is just the second IHLC meeting between Sweden and Denmark, and Denmark’s third ever IHLC game, their only other meeting being an 8-0 Swedish victory just prior to the 2012 World Championships. Sweden will now close out the Preliminary Round tomorrow against defending champions Canada.
00:13 – GOAL – Kempe (Lindblom)
08:03 – PEN – True, roughing / holding double minor
10:22 – PP GOAL – Forsling (Forsbacka-Karlsson)
14:39 – PEN – Holmberg, hooking
24:31 – PEN – Grundström, roughing
32:39 – PEN – Holmberg, high sticking
32:55 – PEN – Eriksson Ek, holding
33:55 – PEN – team, too many players
37:17 – GOAL – Lindblom (Holmström, Ollas-Mattsson)
50:02 – GOAL – Lagesson (Ehn, Lööke)
55:55 – GOAL – Nylander (Asplund, Larsson)
W: Sandström (9-9)
L: Lillie (43-48)
SHOTS ON GOAL
14+23+11 = 48
2+4+3 = 9
Goaltenders: Felix Sandström, Linus Söderström. Defence: Gabriel Carlsson, Andreas Englund (C), Gustav Forsling, William Lagesson, Jacob Larsson, Adam Ollas-Mattsson, Marcus Pettersson. Forwards: Rasmus Asplund, Christoffer Ehn, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Carl Grundström, Axel Holmström (A), Anton Karlsson, Adrian Kempe, Oskar Lindblom, Jens Lööke, Alexander Nylander, Dmytro Timashov.
Goaltenders: Thomas Lillie, Mathias Seldrup. Defence: Ludvig Adamsen, Morten Jensen, Lasse Knudsen, Anders Krogsgaard (C), Mathias Lassen (A), Christian Mieritz, Nicolai Weichel. Forwards: Niklas Andersen, William Boysen, Emil Christensen, Mathias From, Jeppe Holmberg, Kristian Jensen, Markus Jensen, Jeppe Korsgaard, Nikolaj Krag, Soren Nielsen, Thomas Olsen, Jonas Røndbjerg, Alexander True (A).