Two power-play goals in the opening twenty minutes would be all it took for the Swedes to secure a spot in the quarter finals as the Tre Kronor were able to tackle the Slovaks by a score of 3-1.

Sweden’s dangerous offense would strike first. Gustav Nyquist and Dick Axelsson showed some great promise early in the game, passing the puck with ease in the offensive zone halfway through the period. Eventually, a great pass from the point by Axelsson somehow got to Nyquist, who made quick work of goaltender Jan Laco with a short side blocker goal to make it 1-0 Sweden early while on the power-play. With the extra man in the final 10 seconds, Mikael Backlund recorded his fourth goal of the tournament with a nice shots that Laco didn’t really feel like stopping to take the 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Both goals came courtesy of penalties taken by former NHLer Ladislav Nagy, who struggled mightily in the opening twenty minutes of action.

Sweden, who, for some reason, has been plagued by injuries at the international level over the past few seasons. Add Niclas Anderson to that list, who was hazy after taking a puck to the face. He would leave the game with a suspected concussion on the play.

After allowing two goals on 15 shots in the first, the Slovaks decided to pull Jan Laco in favor of Jaroslav Janus. Like in the earlier game when Italy made a goalie switch, Slovakia was able to score their first goal of the contest shortly after making the change. This time, a Tomas Tatar shot was blocked and sent to Martin Marincin, who beat Anders Nilsson with a blast front he point that just slightly bobbled past his glove and off his pro-level CCM goalie pads to make it 2-1.

It would only take the Swedes two minutes to regain their two goal lead. A point shot by Magnus Nygren would be the first even strength goal the Tre Kronor would get past either Slovakian goaltender today, beating Janus between the legs to make it 3-1. The goal would be the final exciting moment of the game, as Sweden’s fourth relegation victory was sealed thanks to a solid 60 minutes of hockey by the Tre Kronor.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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