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NEWS

Sweden, Switzerland advance to gold medal game

Swiss blank Team USA, Swedes shut out Finland

Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 3:32 PM / News
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Sweden, Switzerland advance to gold medal game
A Switzerland national team with little NHL experience assured the country of its first medal at the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship in half a century with a 3-0 win against the United States in the semifinals of the 2013 tournament Saturday.

New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter scored the winning goal and added an assist as Switzerland advanced to the championship game Sunday, where they'll face Sweden, a 3-0 winner against Finland earlier Saturday in the other semifinal. It's the first time Switzerland will play for the gold in the tournament's modern era.

Switzerland last medaled at the World Championship in 1953, when they captured bronze at a tournament in which the United States, Canada and Soviet Union all abstained from competition.

Julian Walker and Reto Suri also scored for the Swiss, while goaltender Reto Berra, who was starting after veteran goaltender Martin Gerber backstopped the team to a 2-1 quarterfinal-round victory against the Czech Republic, made 29 saves for the shutout.

Ryan Carter registered four shots on goal for the U.S., while Stephen Gionta recorded two shots and was minus-1.

John Gibson, who helped the United States win gold at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, made 28 saves in goal for the U.S., which will play Finland for the bronze medal Sunday. The U.S. last won gold at the World Championship in 1933.

Switzerland came out firing in the first period, outshooting the United States 18-9 in the opening 20 minutes. But Gibson, an Anaheim Ducks prospect, stopped all 18 shots he faced to keep his countrymen in contention.

"John Gibson was exceptional." U.S. coach Joe Sacco said. "He’s played well every game in this tournament so far. That says a lot about this young goaltender and his maturity level."

The game tightened considerably in the second period, with the two teams combining for 12 shots. But it was Niederreiter, a New York Islanders prospect, who opened the scoring midway through the period with his team-leading fifth goal of the tournament.

The United States took control in the third, putting 13 shots on goal. But despite the barrage of shots, the Americans encountered penalty trouble as Jacob Trouba, Carter and Jeff Petry each earned two-minute minors early in the period. Switzerland wouldn't score on any of those man-advantage opportunities, including 17 seconds of 5-on-3 play, but Walker would double the Swiss lead 29 seconds after Petry finished serving his interference minor.

With Gibson pulled late in regulation for an extra attacker, Suri closed the scoring with an empty-net goal, with Niederreiter earning an assist.

"We knew we had to bring one of our best performances in the tournament and our players did that," Switzerland coach Sean Simpson said. "We skated hard and stuck to the system and showed desire to win the game and do something for Swiss hockey and for Switzerland itself. To get to this part of the tournament is something very special for the country."

Sweden 3, Finland 0: Loui Eriksson scored two power-play goals and collected an assist, and Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin combined for five points as Sweden advanced to the gold-medal game Saturday in the semifinals of the 2013 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Sweden will play Switzerland on Sunday in the gold-medal game after the Swiss beat the U.S. 3-0.

Finland will face the U.S. for the bronze medal Sunday.

Playing on one of the most dangerous lines of the tournament, the Sedins assisted on each of Eriksson's goals. With Finnish goalie Antti Raanta pulled for an extra skater late in the third period, Henrik Sedin scored his second goal of the tournament, with Eriksson and Henrik Tallinder earning assists.

"The Sedins are the difference," Sweden coach Par Marts said. "They’re great on the power play. They mean so much for us and gave our team self-confidence the way they played."

Jhonas Enroth stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout; Raanta made 28 stops.

The victory earned the Swedes a measure of revenge against their Scandinavian neighbors, who beat Sweden 6-1 in the final of the 2011 tournament in Slovakia.

With legendary Swedish players Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidstrom in attendance at Globe Arena in Stockholm, the teams came out firing. But it wasn't until Finnish defenseman Ilari Melart was called for cross-checking midway through the opening period that Eriksson would open the scoring. On the play, Henrik Sedin emerged from the right corner with the puck before firing a shot that bounced off Eriksson's leg and into the net.

Joel Lundqvist and Tallinder would take back-to-back minors late in the period, but the Swedish penalty kill would keep Finland and the tournament's leading scorer, Petri Kontiola, at bay.

In an evenly matched second period, Kontiola would be sent off for hooking before Eriksson scored his second power-play goal of the game, doubling the Swedish lead with 3:47 remaining in the period. Again, it was Henrik Sedin who started the play, making a perfect pass from behind the net before Eriksson beat Raanta from the slot.

Henrik Sedin would clinch the Swedish victory late in the third, and Finland's offense, which came into the game having scored 27 goals in eight games, was unable to beat Enroth, who along with the Sedin twins was named Sweden's three best players of the tournament.

"I think we've come together as a team. We've got five guys buying in every time they're on the ice," said Henrik Sedin, who said he was relishing the chance to win a world championship in his home country. "It's a lot of pride. To come out and play for your country is a lot of pressure. We like that. We want to be the guys who come home and be those key guys."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 41 10 16 -2 26
J. Jagr 44 9 16 -11 25
M. Cammalleri 36 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 38 6 15 -13 21
M. Zidlicky 48 4 16 -8 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 40 8 8 -6 16
S. Gomez 24 4 12 -6 16
S. Bernier 33 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 30 5 8 -9 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 17 19 4 .921 2.37
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54