Sweden beat Czech Republic to win bronze at IIHF World Championship
The 2013 champions’ defence of their title was brought to an end on Saturday with a 3-1 defeat to Russia, but Sweden bounced back to ensure that they would not end the tournament empty-handed.
The loss against Russia had been marred by an angry exchange between Sweden assistant coach Rikard Gronborg and Russia boss Oleg Znarok, which saw both men suspended for their teams’ respective bronze-medal and gold-medal games.
But the Swedes put that controversy behind them to earn a success that was in contrast to the group-stage meeting between the two – won in a shoot-out by Sweden.
Joakim Lindstrom, who scored the decisive goal in that shootout, opened the scoring in the fifth minute for Sweden as his pass towards Oscar Moller was deflected home.
Sweden’s advantage was doubled 11 minutes later when Simon Hjalmarsson found the net with a first-time shot from a tight angle following great play from Mattias Ekholm and Nicklas Danielsson.
Czech Republic did create plenty of chances to get back into the game but were consistently thwarted by Sweden goaltender Anders Nilsson, who pulled off 29 saves in a fine performance.
And when Nilsson was beaten he was saved by the frame of the goal, which was struck by Vladimir Sobotka and Michal Vondrka as the Czechs pushed to try and get back into the contest.
However, Vladimir Ruzicka’s men saw their hopes of a comeback ended in the third period – Mikael Backlund finishing off a fine Sweden counter to make sure of victory.
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