Sweden 3, Finland 0
This was a perfect match-up that clearly had fantastic fan support. The two hosts of the 2013 World Hockey Championships took to battle in the first semi-final of the day, a game that saw pure domination by Sweden’s top line of Loui Eriksson, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. With the win, Sweden advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game at 1pm EST and will face the undefeated Switzerland squad in the finals on Sunday. After scoring 27 times in its first eight games, Finland saw its offence dry up at a very inconvenient time, as Petri Kontiola (top scorer in the tournament with 15 points) was unable to put the puck in the net when it mattered most. At the ten minute mark, the Swedes drew first blood with a power-play marker when Henrik Sedin’s soft flick shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle bounced off of Eriksson’s leg and past Antti Raanta. The undisciplined Finns would allow another power-play goal against after Kontiola went off for holding for the second time in the game. Seconds into the PP, Henrik Sedin took notes from Wayne Gretzky, sending a beautiful centering pass to Eriksson from behind the net, before the Dallas Stars sniped the puck past Raanta for a 2-0 lead at 16:13. Henrik Sedin added an empty-netter in the final minute to finish the game with a 3-0 victory. At the end of the game, both countries had their top three players of the tournament named. For Finland, it was Raanta, Sami Lepistö, and Kontiola. For Sweden, it was Jhonas Enroth, Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Switzerland 3, USA 0
There is no question about it, Switzerland has to be the great story of the tournament. Switzerland defeated Team USA 3-0 today to play for their first gold medal since 1935. Even if they lose, it will be the first World Championship medal for the Swiss for exactly 60 years, a huge accomplishment considering how many great players they have thrown towards the NHL during the past 15 years. The Swiss were the much better team throughout the game, and it was clear during the first period when Switzerland outshot Team USA 18-9. 19 year old goaltender John Gibson, who won the gold medal with USA at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships, singlehandedly kept his team in the game, but they were going to need to play a much better team game if they wanted to pull off the victory. New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter put his team on the score sheet midway through the second with a beautiful wrist shot that beat Gibson glove side to give the Swiss the 1-0 lead, a goal that proved to be the eventual game winner. Julian Walker doubled the lead in the third period after getting sprung on a breakaway before ripping the puck past Gibson and into the net. The Americans did not give up easily, though, pestering Reto Berra with many shots late in the game, but Reto Suri’s empty net goal ended any chance of a USA/Sweden final. USA will take on Finland in the bronze medal game tomorrow at 10am EST.
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