Coming into the game, Norway, for one of the first times ever, had an advantage over Sweden in the standings, having six points compared to Norway’s five. Everything that has happened prior to Tuesday was irrelevant in the end, however, as Sweden, the top seeded team in the world right now, managed to take down Norway by a close score of 2-1.
Sweden had full control of the first period. It wasn’t an exaggeration, as Norway only posted one shot on a weird dump in attempt. The Norwegian’s had two power-play opportunities during the first period, but even then the Swedish penalty kill was incredible. At the other end of the ice, the Swedes, led by the line of Mikael Backlund, Joakim Lindstrom and Oscar Moller pestered Steffen Søberg with shots from every angle in an attempt to take advantage of the poor offensive pressure by Norway. Søberg didn’t have to make a ton of saves, making only seven in the first, but with the Swedes dominating the pressure, it was surely an impressive frame for the Washington Capitals draft pick.
The first goal of the game would come early in the second period, but not for the team you would expect. Sondre Olden, who had 100% of the shots in the early going for Norway, scored on a nice breakaway play that the cold Anders Nilsson had no chance of stopping to give the polar bears the 1-0 lead. On Norway’s third power-play chance, which had the same results as the first two, Olden would get robbed by Nilsson with an incredible glove hand save. The Swedes would be a totally different team after almost giving up the two goal lead, scoring one of their own before the second period came to a close. Joakim Lindstrom, who has been dangerous all tournament with three goals, faked a slap shot before eventually fooling Søberg to tie it up at one.
In the middle of the second, Swedish defenseman Jonas Ahnelov went down with what is more than likely a separated shoulder. He wouldn’t return after going elbow first into the boards.
The Swedes would eventually get their first lead of the game in the third. After Gustav Nyquist absolutely made the Norwegian defense look silly with his dekes behind the net, Linus Klassen jammed the puck past Søberg to make it 2-1 Sweden on a goal that should have been waved offside seconds prior. Even though his team surrendered the lead, Søberg had been lights out from the drop of the puck and was, no question, the best player in the contest.
Norway needed to do something late in the game. After pulling their goalie for an extra attacker, Norway lost possession to Sweden’s Gustav Nyquist, whose shot was tipped by Morten Ask and wide. Seconds later, Joel Lundqvist’s empty net attempt also went unsuccessful despite standing inches away from the goal crease, only to see Nilsson make a huge shoulder save after Norway went back down to the other end. Sweden would hold on in the end of what could be considered the most entertaining game of the tournament so far, a 2-1 victory for the Tre Kronor.
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