SWE-DEN all Sweden
Kempe leads the way to a 5-0 win
Thomas Lillie at the other end of the rink faced 48 shots.
The win over Denmark also meant that Sweden clinched the group win. Even if Sweden loses its last game to Canada and Team USA wins its two remaining games, the Americans can only tie Sweden’s nine points, in which case the Swedes have the head-to-head advantage thanks to their 1-0 victory in the second game of the tournament.
"I haven't given the quarter-final opponent any thought, but of course it would be nice to play against Finland in Helsinki, on their home ice," Swedish defenseman Gustav Forsling said. "But it actually does not matter one bit, we have to be ready to beat all of them to go all the way."
To be blunt, the game between Sweden and Denmark was over after just 13 seconds. That’s how long it took Adrian Kempe to score the game’s first goal. Even more important than the actual goal, and the all-important first lead, was the way he scored it.
The Danes turned the puck over in the neutral zone, Kempe picked it up in the face-off circle and turned right back towards the Danish net. With a few quick steps he powered past the Danish defenceman, who stumbled onto the ice trying to keep up with the big Swede, and could just watch as Kempe fired a wrist shot past Thomas Lillie in Denmark’s goal.
"We got a poor start to the game and it was really tough after that. We were hoping to upset them, but we played against a really good team," said Denmark's player of the game, defenceman Mathias Lassen, who plays for Leksand in the second-tier Swedish league.
"I think we had chances to score ten goals, but we scored five, and got the win," said Sweden's Oskar Lindblom.
Sweden outshot Denmark 14-2 in the first period and had several excellent chances to extend their lead, but only defenceman Gustav Norling managed to get the puck over the goal line when he fired a shot from the point on power play. Lillie didn’t see the puck at all from behind Kempe and Axel Holmstrom who screened him.
"We tried our best, but we ended up spending most of the game in our zone," Lassen said.
The middle frame was, not unexpectedly, not as exciting as the Danes seemed to have lost hope, while the Swedes took their foot off the pedal a little bit. With 2:43 remaining in the period, Oskar Lindblom gave Sweden an even bigger buffer when he deflected Adam Ollas Mattsson’s shot from the point.
"It was a great pass, I just tried to get my stick on it, and it was nice to see the puck go in," Lindblom said.
The third period was halfway through when Jens Looke found William Lagesson on the point. He took a couple of strides towards the net and fired the puck through the same hole as Kempe in the first period and made it 4-0 for Sweden at 10:02.
Sweden’s leading scorer Alexander Nylander was not left without a point in this game, either, as he sealed the final score, 5-0, with 4:05 remaining in the third period.
"It was a tough game, especially for a defenceman, since we had the play in their zone so much, so I ended up spending a lot of time standing on the blueline," said Forsling.
Denmark will play their last preliminary round game tomorrow, against the U.S., while the Swedes take on Canada in the last game of the preliminary round.
The Swedes and Danes had played against each other just twice in the history of the World Junior Championship. Sweden won the first two - 10-1 in 2007 and 5-1 last year - and they also won the third one just as easily.
This time, Denmark could not score even once.
Sweden vs. Denmark (5-0)
Felix Sandstrom made eight saves en route to a shutout in his first game in the tournament as Sweden beat Denmark 5-0.