Sweden advanced to the gold medal game with a 6-0 win over Team USA, advancing to tomorrow evening’s final against the winner of Canada-Switzerland and the chance for back-to-back championship titles.
Viktor Arvidsson’s first period goal and three more in the second sealed the win and America’s hopes to at contending for their first gold medal since 1933.
Today’s semi-final matchup featured a decidedly Swedish crowd at the sold out Royal Arena. For the Americans, it was their first game in Copenhagen after spending the last two-and-a-half weeks in Herning as part of Group B.
These teams met at last year’s World Championships in the Preliminary Round with the USA winning 4-3. In their World Championship head to head history, the United States has won only 11 of 54 games.
The defending champions took advantage of every big opportunity they had to score while neutralizing the American attack. Defensively, they shut down an America team that scored 42 goals in the tournament, including 14 on the power play. Despite being outshot, Sweden made the most with what they had, which was a lot.
There was action in both ends of the ice in the first period, but the USA would have many of the better chances. Cam Atkinson provided the first real chance of the game when he split two defenders, retrieved a rebound of a Nick Bonino shot and fired one off that was saved. Team USA moved the puck well and Patrick Kane was particularly dangerous whenever he had possession. Kane set up Colin White for a chance that was among the best of his early handiwork. Johnny Gaudreau would have the best chance for his side but was stopped by Nilsson when he got his arm out just in time.
Sweden was called for too many men on the ice, giving the Americans their first man advantage of the game. Coming in with the top ranked power play, the USA special team would get to work. Sweden successfully killed off the penalty.
Arvidsson enjoyed an active first period, creating chances and generating three shots on goal. He also set up Mattias Janmark for a forehand shot that rang off the crossbar. Arvidsson’s efforts paid off when he opened scoring at 14:43. Keith Kinkaid could not handle contain a shot by Filip Forsberg and Jacob de la Rose got his stick on it, forcing the puck through to the crease. Arvidsson was in the right position in front behind Kinkaid to deposit the puck into the net and getting Sweden off to a 1-0 lead.
He nearly scored another when Forsberg chipped the puck out of Sweden’s zone and Arvidsson picked it up at centre ice and moved in on a partial break. Kinkaid was there for the pad save.
The Americans were getting the better chances, outshooting Sweden 16-8. However, Sweden made the most of their opportunities and came away with the lead. In the second period, Sweden scored three goals to put the game out of reach.
Charlie McAvoy drew a four-minute penalty in the second Adam Larsson was called for high sticking McAvoy. What should have been an advantageous situation where the Americans could tie the game, instead was the turning point in the game in Sweden’s favour. USA lost any momentum they had in that power play. Dennis Everberg developed a shorthanded chance for that opened the gates. Next up, Mikael Backlund’s effort was followed up by Magnus Pääjärvi who scored as his team was still down a man. His initial shot hit Kinkaid’s skate but the second opportunity was more successful.
Sweden added a third on the power play when Patric Hörnqvist sent a shot between the pads and into the net. Then another. Janmark drove to the net past McAvoy and scored to give his team a four goal lead. Sweden was on fire.
As the game moved on, Sweden’s defence became even more stingy. Kane and company had been thoroughly neutralized before pressing their attack in the third period. They were adept at blocking shots and making sure scoring chances stayed on the outside. Anders Nilsson was strong in net. He made big saves when called upon to earn third shutout of the World Championship. Team USA fired 20 shots but he stood his ground and kept the puck out of the net.
At 11:07, Team USA pulled their goaltender and Arvidsson scored his second of the game. Adrian Kempe added another at 17:01 to complete scoring.
Despite the loss, Team USA, by reaching the semi-final, is guaranteed a top-four finish in the 12-team tournament for the fourth time in six years. It marks Team USA’s best-ever stretch since it medaled in six of the eight tournaments it competed in from 1931-1950.
06:56 – PEN – team, too many players
14:43 – GOAL – Arvidsson (de la Rose, Forsberg)
17:32 – PEN – Kinkaid, tripping
23:36 – PEN – Larsson, high sticking double minor
27:09 – SH GOAL – Pääjärvi (Backlund)
29:11 – PEN – Gaudreau, slashing
30:05 – PP GOAL – Hörnqvist (Backlund, Klingberg)
30:16 – GOAL – Janmark (Rakell)
30:40 – PEN – Arvidsson, interference
45:14 – PEN – Nyquist, interference
51:07 – EN GOAL – Arvidsson (Zibanejad)
57:01 – GOAL – Kempe (Backlund)
58:42 – PEN – Kempe, roughing
58:42 – PEN – Larkin, roughing
59:50 – PEN – Backlund, slashing
W: Nilsson (41-41)
L: Kinkaid (14-19)
SHOTS ON GOAL
8+8+4 = 20
16+5+20 = 41
Goaltenders: Magnus Hellberg, Anders Nilsson. Defence: Mattias Ekholm, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (A), John Klingberg (A), Adam Larsson, Hampus Lindholm, Mikael Wikstrand. Forwards: Lias Andersson, Viktor Arvidsson, Mikael Backlund (C), Jacob de la Rose, Dennis Everberg, Filip Forsberg, Patric Hörnqvist, Mattias Janmark, Adrian Kempe, Johan Larsson, Gustav Nyquist, Magnus Pääjärvi, Rickard Rakell, Mika Zibanejad.
Goaltenders: Scott Darling, Keith Kinkaid. Defence: Will Butcher, Quinn Hughes, Nick Jensen, Alec Martinez, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy (A), Neal Pionk. Forwards: Cam Atkinson, Nick Bonino, Blake Coleman, Alex DeBrincat, Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Kane (C), Chris Kreider, Dylan Larkin (A), Anders Lee, Sonny Milano, Derek Ryan, Tage Thompson, Colin White.
|SWEDEN||vs.||UNITED STATES (C)|
|Last Title||reign ends
(+ 3 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. USA)
USA 3-0 SWE – 03/11/1933 – EX – Berlin
|Previous IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. USA)
USA 5-3 SWE – 04/25/2007 – EX – Stockholm
|Last IHLC Game
USA 3-2 CZE – 05/17/2018 – WC – Herning
|Next IHLC Game
SWE 3-2 SUI (SO) – 05/20/2018 – WC – Copenhagen