Article written by Ryan Hale - Community Contributor
Swedes Keep Rolling
This game was huge for both teams. Having both won their opening games they were looking to take control of the group. To see who could earn poll position for that coveted automatic bye that only one team from each group is guaranteed. Sweden was dealt a blow before the game even started as Henrik Zetterberg was found to have aggravated his herniated disk in his back and had thus flown back to Detroit for treatment. Therefore, Niklas Kronwall was named the new Swedish captain. A solid blow to the leadership of the Swedish team.
This would prove key at least in the first period it seemed as Sweden just couldn't get anything going and the Swiss were skating right around them pretty much anywhere on the ice. It was hard to tell if the Switzerland team just had their legs under them more or if the fact that Sweden had to shuffle their lines around meant that they were still getting settled and used to their line mates. I'm apt to give the Swiss the credit here though. They out and out dominated the first four minutes of the game and really it wasn't until Denis Hollenstein took a penalty that the Swedes seemed to get their feet under them.
The first period could really be summed up in the period of Henrik Lundqvist. He had to face 13 shots in the period and he saved all of them. One sequence in particular he saw two or three shots from his door step that he was able to keep out of the net. Compare that to the only 5 shots that Reto Berra had to face and it gives you some kind of idea just how tilted the ice was. Sweden was left with being happy that the period had finally ended and hoping that they could regroup and come out stronger in the second.
At the offset of the first period it appeared the game would be played on some more equal footing as they both played up and down the ice in a free flowing fashion getting in chances. At one point Lundqvist made a save with his helmet, heading the puck away as if it were a soccer ball. Seven minutes into the period though the Swiss side took a penalty and that began to tilt the ice. Sweden would start mounting chances. Getting shots from the point and trying to poke in rebounds.
Not two minutes after that first penalty ended the Swiss took another which further tilted the ice in the favor of Sweden. However, for all the chances that they had Sweden just couldn't punch one home. This time it was the Swiss who were happy to hear the horn sound as you could feel the Swedish side had just taken over the game. Sweden had 16 shots on goal that period to Switzerland's 7. Both goalies were up to the task of any shots they faced which kept the game at 0-0 heading to the third.
The third started out pretty even. Both teams were getting chances and it appeared that we would finally have a fairly even period of play. Before the halfway point in the period both teams had been awarded a power play however neither would be successful in converting on it. However, the Swedes were able to use their power play to gain just a little momentum and it showed quickly. Five minutes of controlling the play later Erik Karlsson took a shot from the half boards on the right hand side of the ice. It appeared that Berra had it in his gut, but the puck squibbed free and sat in the blue paint. It didn't have to sit long however as Daniel Alfredsson came along and scooped it into the back of the net to make it 1-0 for Sweden.
That one goal, that one little mistake by Berra is what ended up being the difference in the game. He shouldn't be ashamed with how he played in his Olympic debut however. He faced 31 shots and saved 30 of them. Not only did he play really well, he didn't get much offensive support from his team at all. Lundqvist pitched a shutout himself even though he didn't get much goal support either. He stopped all 26 shots he faced in order to ensure team Sweden the win. A huge win for them as they go to face Latvia next having already won 2 games and assured of the automatic bye from winning the group.
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