World Juniors

Swedes Rally To Beat Russia 4-3 In OT

Sunday, 01.1.2012 / 1:00 AM ET / World Juniors
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Swedes Rally To Beat Russia 4-3 In OT
CALGARY -- How Swede it is to be Joakim Nordstrom.

Nordstrom scored the game winner at 2:46 of overtime to lift Sweden to a 4-3 come-from-behind Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, clinching first place in Group A at the World Junior Championship and earning a bye directly into the semifinals.

After the Swedes overcame a 3-0 deficit to force overtime on Max Friberg's goal with 40 seconds left in regulation, Friberg lugged the puck up the ice from his own zone before lifting a backhand saucer pass onto the stick of Patrik Nemeth. He one-timed a blast that was deflected by Nordstrom over the blocker of Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski to give Sweden the victory.

"Friberg passes the puck up to Nemeth on the blue line and he fires the shot and he almost hit me in the face," Nordstrom said. "I just let it hit my stick instead of my face and it went under the crossbar and in."

The goal had to survive a review to make sure Nordstrom's stick was under the crossbar.

"I didn't know that for sure," Nordstrom said. "I was just waiting for the call. Of course (it was) a big relief … now game-winning goal. I didn't know where it hit me. I knew it hit my stick, but I didn't know if I was over the crossbar or not. That puck took us straight to the semifinal now."

The defending champion Russians, who had allowed just one goal in winning their first three games, will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

Russia led 3-0 entering the third period after scoring three times in the opening 20 minutes. But Oscar Klefbom finally got the Swedes on the board when he fired a point shot over Vasilevski's glove 3:17 into the period, snapping the Russian goalie's tournament shutout streak at 163:17.

Sweden kept firing and was rewarded when the rebound of Rickard Rakell's sharp-angled shot went off the stick of a Russian defender and behind Vasilevski with 7:41 remaining, bringing the Swedes within a goal.

With Alexander Khokhlachev off for hooking in the dying minutes of the game, the Swedes nearly tied it. Captain Johan Larsson, parked on the doorstep, almost had Sweden's third but couldn't slide the puck under Vasilevski with four minutes remaining. Seconds later, the Russian goalie turned aside William Karlsson's one-timer.

With Sweden pressing, Yevgeni Kuznetsov got behind the Swedish defense and went in alone on goalie Johan Gustafsson, who denied the Russian captain with his pad to keep it a 3-2 game with 1:42 remaining.

"It was a good feeling when I heard the whistle and I saw the puck underneath me," Gustafsson said.

The save turned out to be huge when Jonas Brodin took a shot from the point that was deflected by Friberg in the slot and into the net for his seventh goal of the tournament, tying the game 3-3 and forcing overtime. It was Sweden's 53rd shot at Vasilevski.

"Every player just believed in the team and strategy so we know that the hockey game is played in 60 minutes plus overtime so we just wanted to keep fighting the whole game," Nordstrom said.

Swedish coach Roger Ronnberg put the win on the shoulders of his players.

"We have so many leading players on the team, I don't need to say so much to the team," Ronnberg said. "We have true character in those guys. They are the guys playing it."

Sweden spotted Russia a 2-0 lead with two quick goals in seven seconds.

A turnover at the Swedish blue line led to Nail Yakupov streaking down to the crease before feeding a pass to Ignat Zemchenko for his second of the tournament just 2:09 into the game. Off the ensuing faceoff, Yaroslav Kosov streaked into the Swedish zone and snapped a shot that slithered through Gustafsson to make it 2-0.

It was almost 3-0 before the four-minute mark after Nikita Gusev got behind Sweden's defense. The Russian sniper deked to his backhand but was denied by the pad of Gustafsson.

Sweden thought it had cut the lead in half a short time later. Rackell's centering feed hit Mika Zibanejad in the crease and went into the net, but the play was reviewed and ruled no goal.

Russia extended its lead to 3-0 at 13:33 with a shorthanded goal. Ivan Telegin deflected a pass at his own blue line, caught up with the puck and went one-on-one with Gustafsson, beating him five-hole.

Sweden came out firing in the second, outshooting Russia 17-8, but came closest to scoring without recording a shot on goal. On the power play, the puck took a bounce off the end boards and onto the stick of Friberg, who fired the puck short side on Vasilevski but hit the post midway through the period.

The loss forces Russia to take a longer route to the medal round, a road that leads through the Czechs, who finished third in Group B.

"It's difficult to say right now how we're going to win," Russian coach Valeri Bragin said through a translator. "They have a really good goalie and we played against them in the pre-tournament games. They play an aggressive style. This year the Czech team is not looking like it was last year or years before. It's a good opponent."

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
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