How Swede it is

Swe­den beats Canada in shootout to win gold at world cham­pi­onship

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY CAROL SCHRAM THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Canada felt the sting of its loss to Swe­den at the world cham­pi­onship a lit­tle more than usual thanks to the tour­na­ment for­mat.

Nick­las Back­strom and Oliver Ek­man-Lars­son scored in a shootout as Swe­den beat Canada 2-1 on Sun­day to cap­ture gold, spoil­ing the Cana­di­ans’ at­tempt to win the ti­tle for a third straight year.

“We don’t feel like we lost a hockey game tonight, we feel like we lost a shootout,” said Cana­dian coach Jon Cooper. “I told our guys ‘hang your head high.’ We knew the rules go­ing in, it was part of the for­mat, and they bested us.

“I thought both goal­tenders were ex­cep­tional but in the end it came down to a skill com­pe­ti­tion. They were bet­ter than us and in the end, they de­served to be world champs.”

Back­strom, Swe­den’s sec­ond shooter in the shootout, beat Cana­dian goal­tender Calvin Pickard low to the stick side and Oliver Ek­man-Lars­son caught Pickard mov­ing on Swe­den’s next at­tempt to go up 2-0.

Swe­den’s Hen­rik Lundqvist stopped Nathan MacKin­non, Bray­den Point, Ryan O’Reilly and Mitch Marner to se­cure the gold.

“It’s tough,” said MacKin­non. “We couldn’t score and it’s a shootout. It’s a weird way to fin­ish but if we won we wouldn’t be talk­ing about it — we’d just be ex­cited. Ob­vi­ously, we’re very dis­ap­pointed.”

Vic­tor Hed­man scored a short-handed goal late in the sec­ond pe­riod to give the Swedes a 1-0 lead. Lundqvist picked up the win with 42 saves.

Lundqvist joined his twin brother and team cap­tain Joel on Swe­den mid­way through the tour­na­ment af­ter his New York Rangers were elim­i­nated from the Stan­ley Cup play­offs. It was Hen­rik’s first ap­pear­ance at the world cham­pi­onship since 2008 and his first time play­ing with his brother since the pair com­peted to­gether in the Swedish Elite League dur­ing the 2004-05 NHL lock­out.

They hadn’t played to­gether in­ter­na­tion­ally since the 2002 world ju­nior cham­pi­onship.

“It’s a very spe­cial mo­ment for both of us, to stand out there and to pull it off,” Hen­rik said. “We knew we had a chance, we knew we had the team, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to pull it off but we did. That’s why I came here, so it’s an awe­some feel­ing.”

O’Reilly tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal for Canada early in the third. Pickard stopped 40 shots.

The win is Swe­den’s first in four tries against Canada since the IIHF in­sti­tuted the play­off sys­tem in 1992 and its first gold medal since 2013.

Hed­man got Swe­den on the score­board with Back­strom serv­ing his sec­ond penalty of the game. Hed­man’s bounc­ing shot from the point off a bro­ken play eluded Pickard with 20.8 sec­onds left in the pe­riod.

“I got a for­tu­nate bounce,” said Hed­man. “I wasn’t re­ally friends with the puck there in the sec­ond pe­riod. I just threw it at the net. Joel (Lundqvist) and Krugs (Mar­cus Kruger) did a good job in front of the goalie and I don’t think he saw it. I got a lucky bounce and the puck had eyes. It was good.”

The Cana­di­ans once again used their lethal power play to get back into the game in the third with Elias Lind­holm was whis­tled for high stick­ing at 1:48. It took just 10 sec­onds for O’Reilly to tie the game at 1-1, flip­ping a Mitch Marner re­bound over Lundqvist’s right shoul­der. It was the first spe­cial-teams goal that Lundqvist had sur­ren­dered in five tour­na­ment games.

Both teams had chances in the ex­tra pe­riod. Sean Cou­turier was whis­tled for trip­ping with 10:51 left in over­time but the Cana­dian penalty killers were up to the task. Alex Kil­lorn fed Matt Duch­ene with a nifty spin-o-rama pass late in over­time, but his shot was stopped by Lundqvist.

Ear­lier on Sun­day, Rus­sia de­feated Fin­land 5-3 to cap­ture its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive bronze medal.

AP PHOTO

Swe­den’s Hen­rik Lundqvist is hugged by his team­mate Wil­liam Ny­lan­der af­ter win­ning the Ice Hockey World Cham­pi­onships gold medal match be­tween Canada and Swe­den in Cologne, Ger­many, on Sun­day.

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