While there were some concerns that playing as the host team might create too much pressure for Sweden, the team has instead played as if it didn't matter where the 2014 World Junior Championship was being contested. The Swedes have so far made an undeated run through this tournament, but they must now defeat their greatest rival, Finland, a second time to take their second gold medal in three years.
Sweden has landed in the gold medal game after a 2-1 win over Russia in the WJC semi-finals. Indeed, the road to the finale of this tournament has not been an easy one for Sweden, but they have played with confidence while featuring a balanced attack and excellent goaltending, ingredients that could serve them well in Sunday's match against the Finns.
Finland stunned Canada 5-1 to earn their trip to the gold medal game. The Finns and Sweden have met once already in this tournament, with Sweden taking that game, 4-2. Finland has been inching their way to a berth in the gold medal game the past few years, and they are guaranteed to at least take home the silver medal. But a win against a strong opponent in a hostile environment would be a major feather in the cap of Finland's junior hockey program.
Hockey's Future writers Chapin Landvogt and Derek O'Brien are in Malmo, Sweden for this tournament. In this HF podcast, they preview the gold medal game of the 2014 WJC.
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