Russia/Sweden
Even though they were outplayed, Sweden found a way to pull out a 2-1 win over Russia and move on to the gold medal game.

In a rematch of their round robin game, the score changed but the result was the same: Sweden wins. While Russia played very well (much better than Sweden for a lot of the game), Oscar Dansk stole the show for Sweden and carried the team to a 2-1 win and on to the gold medal game as Sweden remains undefeated at the World Juniors. Sweden will take on either Canada or Finland, both of whom they have beaten in a pre-tournament game and a round robin game respectively.

First Period:

Less than a minute into the period, Jesper Pettersson takes a roughing penalty and sends the Russians to an early power play. While they had their chances, Russia couldn’t get it behind Oscar Dansk. Sweden’s best early chance came via Filip Forsberg as he flew down the ice but his shot was gloved by Andrei Vasilevski and that kept the game scoreless. Well over the midway point of the period, Russia was out shooting Sweden and barely even letting Sweden into the offensive zone. Sweden would make a bit more of a push a shoot a few more on Vasilevski, but the Russian goalie made the stops and then the team in front of him did what they could to try to beat Dansk but he wasn’t letting his team go down 1-0. Then, with three minutes to go, Nikita Tryamkin was called for holding and the Swedes get their best opportunity to score in the first period. It took Sweden a bit to get going, but they eventually got into the Russian zone and moved the puck around, with a few good chances to score. It got better for the Swedes when Alexander Barabanov put the puck over the glass and put the Swedes on a five-on-three. Just as the Tryamkin penalty finished, Elias Lindholm found Forsberg with a terrific pass across the zone and Forsberg sent a laser by Vasilevski to put Sweden up 1-0 with under a minute to play. The first period ended shortly thereafter with Sweden in the lead despite Russia out playing them for almost all of the period. The shots ended up being even at 10-10 after the first.

Second Period:

Russia comes close to tying the game after Robin Norell was tripped – no call – and Dansk had to make a save on Grigorenko on a quick shot. The Russians got their second power play of the game when Gutav Olofsson took an interference penalty. They had their chances with the man advantage, Russia just couldn’t get one by Oscar Dansk and the Swedes killed the penalty. Sweden got a break after not being able to generate many chances and just being simply outworked by Russia. Vadim Khlopotov went to the net looking for a rebound but instead ran over Oscar Dansk, which left him on the ice for a little, and Khlopotov got sent to the box for goalie interference. Russia killed the penalty off but there was some extra stuff after the whistle when Erik Karlsson snowed Vasilevski and that drew a reaction from the Russians but no penalties came from it. Russia came close yet again. After a shot  by Tryamkin that was stopped, Dansk loses sight of the puck but somehow makes a pair of saves in close on Damir Zhafyarov. Very late in the period, after a scramble in front of Vasilevski, Valeri Vasiliev takes the puck away but is then caught in the face by the stick of Elias Lindholm and Vasiliev went down while Lindholm went to the penalty box. It was eventually made a double minor since Vasiliev was bleeding from the high-stick so as the first period expired, the Russians will get about three minutes and 55 seconds of power play time to begin the third period. The shots on goal actually favored Sweden in that period at 8-7 though the Russians had the better chances.

Third Period:

The Swedes kill off the first half of the double minor with the Russians not getting many great chances. The second half of the double minor wasn’t any better for Russia as they just could not into any rhythm and the Swedes killed off the long power play. The kill could have given some life to Sweden as the sprung Oskar Sunqvist  for a breakaway and he made a little move, then beat Vasilevski to make it 2-0 Sweden. It wasn’t over for Russia, however. Damir Zhafyarov just throws the puck on net and it somehow got by Dansk to put Russia right back in the game, 2-1. It breathes some life into the Russians as they put a ton of pressure on the Swedes, but they couldn’t find the tying goal. It was then Sweden’s turn to attack but they couldn’t score either as the pace of the game picked up immensely with neither team wanting to go to the bronze medal game. While the pace slowed a bit in the few minutes after, both sides had opportunities to tie the game or take a two goal lead. A little over three minutes to go in the game, the Russians get close to beating Dansk but he robbed Bogdan Yakimov on the doorstep. With 1:19 left in the game, Russia pulls Vasilevski from the net and gets the extra skater in hope of tying the game.  Russia couldn’t get much going as the Swedes kept the puck along the boards for the most part. Then, with just 19 seconds left in the third, Jesper Pettersson took a slashing penalty and the Russians would get a 6-on-4 power play to end the game. Russia wouldn’t be able to score and the Swedes took the 2-1 win. However, after the game ended, there was a massive brawl which was started, primarily, by Pettersson who came out of the penalty box and jumped Andrei Mironov then both exchanged punches. That could be costly for Pettersson as the IIHF will most definitely review what happened and suspensions could be handed out.

Three Stars:

1) Oscar Dansk. Was it going to be anyone else? Dansk was the reason Sweden won this game. While he didn’t face a crazy amount of shots, he still stopped 26 of 27 and quite a few of those were very quality scoring chances. Dansk hadn’t had to be great for most of the tournament, but today he was asked to steal one and he definitely did. When you think of how dangerous the Swedish team is up front, the fact they have a goalie who can steal games is pretty ridiculous.

2) Damir Zhafyarov. While there were many good Russian players on the ice tonight, Zhafyarov was the best. He was always around the puck and in almost every play. Zhafyarov is a small player, but didn’t seem to care about players bigger than him as was playing much bigger than he was.

3) Filip Forsberg. The Swedish captain didn’t have his best game of the tournament, but he did what was needed for Sweden to pull out the win. He buried a power play goal to put his team on the board after the Russians had controlled most of the game up to that point. Even after the goal, Forsberg created offense and played well defensively.

Follow me on Twitter: @BShaw27.

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