Sweden is off to a great start in the 4-nation U20 tournament held in
Växjö, Sweden this week. In the opening game Sweden quite surprisingly defeated Russia 4-1.
Russia vs. Sweden 1-4
|0-1||Loui Eriksson||Daniel Åhsberg|
|0-2||Johan Harju||Johannes Salmonsson|
|0-3||Loui Eriksson(2)||Daniel Åhsberg|
|1-3||Dmitry Vorobjev||Yakov Rylov|
|1-4||Linus Videll||Carl Söderberg||Ola Svanberg|
|27 – 20|
min – 14 min
Strong opening period by Sweden
Sweden was given a golden opportunity to score just 1:02 into the first period when Russian forward Dmitri Pestunov was called for tripping. Sweden played very poorly
with the man advantage and in fact Russia had the best scoring chance during those
two minutes. But Swedish goaltender David Rautio quite easily took care of the Russian shot.
Five minutes into the first period, Russia had some strong pressure and center Sergei Ogordnikov had a quick wrist shot from the slot, but Rautio once again prevented an opening goal for Russia.
After 11:40 Yakov Rylov interfered with a Swedish player and team Sweden was once again on the
power play. This time Sweden was successful. Speedy Dallas prospect Loui Eriksson scored on his own rebound after being assisted by flashy winger Daniel Åhsberg.
With three minutes remaining of the first period, debutant Johan Harju made it 2-0 assisted by arguably the fastest player on the ice tonight, Johannes Salmonsson. Sweden controlled the first period and was the better team.
Rautio stopped sharpshooting Russians
Team Sweden started the second period convincingly as well and Daniel Åhsberg and Ola Svanberg both displayed solid skating and fine technical skills when easily entering the Russian zone with the puck. After
7:07 defenseman Nicklas Grossman got called for high-sticking and joined Johan Fransson who was already sitting in the penalty box. The Russians put some serious pressure on the Swedish net thanks to the
two-man advantage and David Rautio was forced to make three big saves to prevent the Russians from scoring.
The Swedish penalties helped the Russian players to find their momentum and Rautio was tested further. After 10 minutes of play he made a highlight save when he slid down and robbed Enver Lisin and Konstantin Makarov. Despite playing considerably better in the second period and outshooting Sweden 13-9, the
middle period ended without any scoring.
Hellström injured in the third
In the third period, Sweden came out aggressively and Daniel Åhsberg quickly stole the puck from a Russian defenseman, skated hard towards the net and with a slick pass he reached Loui Eriksson who scored his second goal of the night. This goal took the air out of the Russians, at least for a
short while as the play was quite passive for the next eight minutes. Halfway through the period, the arguably best Russian on the ice, Grigory Shafigullin, released a heavy slap shot that hit the post. In the next sequence, Swedish center Mattias Hellström fell
to the ice, apparently hit by the puck in the face. Hellström was helped off the ice and did not return.
With less than five minutes remaining of the period Russian forward Denis Parshin was called for hooking, but Sweden’s awfully structured power play resulted in a shorthanded goal for Russia scored by Dmitry Vorobjev. This goal clearly inspired the Russians who right after started forechecking really hard, but just like before David Rautio made the needed saves. With only 44 seconds left on the clock, Linus Videll made it 4-1. Ola Svanberg lifted the puck, and as it bounced,
the Blues’ Carl Söderberg picked it clean out of the air on its way up and reached Videll who was all alone with the Russian goalie Anton Khudobin.
Player notes – Russia
Evgeni Malkin – Malkin is the big star on this Russian team. He was good in this match, but hardly spectacular and hardly the best Russian on the ice.
He displayed impressive puck control and strength, but did not create all that much offensively.
Denis Parshins – Parshins is the most entertaining Russian forward.
He showed very quick feet and stickhandled very smoothly through traffic.
Grigory Shafigullin – Shafigullin has intimidating size, strong defensively and one heck of a
slap shot. He was named the best Russian player of the game and along with Parshins, he was the one that stood out the most.
Overall few Russians stood out. The intensity by the forechecking Russian forwards was inconsistent, but at times the superior Russian skating and puck control became apparent.
Player notes – Sweden
G – David Rautio
Rautio made 26 saves and had an excellent game. He made several big saves and should be very satisfied with his performance.
D – Niklas Andersson
Did not play
D – Johan Fransson
Fransson was caught out of position a few times, but had overall a strong game and was also named the best Swedish player of the game. His skating is a treat to watch as always and he is not afraid to play the body either.
D – Elias Granath
Granath had an average night, making a few defensive mistakes and taking a not
very smart penalty.
D – Nicklas Grossman
Arguably the most important player on the team, Grossman was good, but not as good as usual. Like in every game, he had some big hits and overall was very sound defensively, but 2-3 times he was a bit slow in his decision-making with the puck.
D – Oscar Hedman
Hedman had an unspectacular, but strong game. He was not afraid to get involved physically and had a decent shot on net.
D – Anton Strålman
After a nervous start, Strålman improved his play throughout the game and was one of the more creative Swedish defensemen today. He had 3 shots on goal and one excellent bodycheck.
D – Ola Svanberg
Nothing to complain about here. No mistakes and the usual willingness to join the rush.
D – Alexander Täng
Did not play
F – Nicklas Bergfors
Did not really have any scoring chances, but worked very hard and displayed an aggressive and physical side. In one shift Bergfors had
two fine hits and he was throughout the game strong on the forecheck.
F – Loui Eriksson
Eriksson scored two of Sweden’s goals and deserves plenty of credit. He has very good chemistry with linemates Daniel Åhsberg and Linus Persson, and is with his smarts and speed a constant scoring threat.
F – David Fredriksson
Fredriksson was not very noticeable on Sweden’s first line and has certainly had better games.
F – Johan Harju
Strong and powerful, Harju played on Sweden’s fourth line with Mattias Hellström and Johannes Salmonsson. The difference between Salmonsson’s quick feet and Harju’s feet was very obvious.
He had an average game.
F – Mattias Hellström
Hellström showed great chemistry with speedy Salmonsson and made very smart decisions.
He was very agile and strong along the boards before he had to leave the game in the third period due to an injury to the face.
F – Mikael Johansson
Rather unknown Red Wing prospect Mikael Johansson was among the very best players on the ice
tonight. Johansson displayed good technical skills, excellent mobility and a strong passing game.
F – Robert Nilsson
Nilsson did not show any major signs of getting limited ice time in Djurgården. Nilsson skated hard and was even given some time on the penalty killing unit.
He was a bit unlucky near the net, but had a couple of fine passes and big hits.
F – Linus Persson
The center on the strong third line that also included Åhsberg and L. Eriksson. Persson did what was required and backhecked well.
He was not too noticeable though.
F – Johan Salmonsson
Salmonsson had an
inconsistent performance, but at times very good. Few Russian players could keep up with him and he looked strong along the boards.
He also displayed fine leadership skills.
F – Carl Söderberg
Söderberg was by far the best and most creative forward on Sweden’s top line. The line was
dominant in the previous U20 tournament in Grand Forks, but tonight Söderberg was the only one of those three (Fredriksson and Videll the other two) that really stood out.
He had a few nice passes and technical numbers, but lost too many faceoffs.
F – Linus Videll
scored Sweden’s last goal, but looked a bit slow at times and was not as aggressive as usual.
F – Daniel Åhsberg
A very good game by the speedy and technically skilled Magnus Kahnberg clone. Åhsberg picked up two assists and could have scored
two goals, had he been more lucky.
Five Swedish Stars of the game
***** David Rautio
**** Mikael Johansson
*** Daniel Åhsberg
** Loui Eriksson
* Johan Fransson
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