By virtue of their 3-0 victory over Switzerland to kick off the 2023 Czech Hockey Games in Gothenburg, Sweden, Tre Kronor officially clinched their sixth Euro Hockey Tour title, and second straight, by moving eight points ahead of Finland and Czechia in the tournament table with just two games to go.
Tre Kronor started the 2022-23 season strong, losing just once at November’s Karjala Tournament to Finland in the tournament finale, while going undefeated at December’s inaugural Swiss Ice Hockey Games, and losing just one contest on home ice at February’s Beijer Hockey Games in Malmö, a 2-1 overtime loss to Czechia. They would recapture the IHLC in the Beijer finale against Finland on 12 February, then sweeping both Denmark and Norway, and splitting a series against Finland, in Euro Hockey Challenge action to bring the IHLC to the Czech Hockey Games.
Hosting the tournament opener in Gothenburg before joining the rest of the tournament in Brno, Czechia, it was recent NHL call-up Lucas Raymond who struck twice for Tre Kronor (in his national team debut), and a 19-save shutout from Lars Johansson, that sealed the 3-0 win over the Eisgenossen, and put Sweden at 22 points in the table, with Czechia and Finland each sitting at 15 points, only able to gain a maximum of 21 at this point.
This marks Sweden’s sixth Tour championship, and second consecutive, following 2022’s truncated schedule when Russia was kicked off the Tour after their invasion of Ukraine following the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Sweden will now look to finish a perfect 2-0 in Brno, with tilts against Czechia and Finland, with the hopes of carrying that momentum, and the IHLC, into the 2023 World Championships, where they will be competing in Tampere, opening their tournament on 12 May against Germany.
Photo Credit: Hockeypuls – IIHF – HHOF – IOC