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IIHF – Swedish D too much to handle for Germany

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Philipp Grubauer and the Germans might be having nightmares about Sweden’s defensive core.

The strength of the Swedes was on full display on Monday evening in Ostrava, as defenders Erik Karlsson, Marcus Pettersson, and Rasmus Dahlin all made the scoresheet during Sweden’s 6-1 win over Germany. The winning side exhibited another one of its strengths – depth – as it had six different goal scorers to increase its tournament total to 10 different scorers.

But this result was all about the Swedish D, who fired shots early and often at the German goaltender and showed the offensive chops that make the Swedes such a scary team for opponents. Karlsson had a goal and an assist, Pettersson scored and Dahlin had two assists in the game as that trio led the way offensively.

“We played the right way from the start. We took away all their time and space,” said Dahlin. “We played a full 60-minute game which gave us a lot of opportunity to get some offence.”

With the win, Sweden maintains its grip on first place in Group B with 9 nine points in three games, four points clear of second-place Slovakia. Germany suffered its second regulation loss to fall to 1-0-0-2 and sits in sixth place in Group B but just a single point behind third-place Latvia, which is Germany’s next opponent.

Sweden showed up ready to play on Monday, firing seven shots at Grubauer in the opening six minutes and holding a 17-4 advantage in the period.

Karlsson started the scoring at 2:54 with his third of the tournament and fourth point when he received a pass from Jesper Froden and snapped the puck post in. At 14:52, the Swedes got another goal from their elite defensive core, as third-pairing defender Pettersson unloaded a cannon of a slapshot that went top corner.

Late in the frame, with the Swedes on a powerplay, Victor Olofsson one-timed a pass from Dahlin from just inside the blueline to make it 3-0 Sweden. That goal, with two seconds to play in the first, was a backbreaker for Germany.

The Swedish firing squad continued its work in the second, sending another 18 shots at Grubauer and finding the back of the net twice.

Dahlin’s point shot was tipped in by Carl Grundstrom to make it 4-0 at 4:31. Midway through the period, Sweden’s Pontus Holmberg beat out a delayed icing in the German end and, with Grubauer out of position, made a nice pass to Andre Burakovsky who had most of the net to shoot at and scored to make it 5-0. Burakovsky had a nice game with a goal and two assists.

“Our lineup is pretty good,” said a smiling Dahlin. “We have a really strong D core and then our forwards are really skilled too. We play for each other and we’re here to win so it’s a lot of fun.”

The Germans had only five shots in the second but did get some chances, the best of which came when John Peterka intercepted a Karlsson pass at Germany’s blueline and then sprung through the yellow bodies for a breakaway. Peterka, though, was unable to beat Sweden goaltender Samuel Ersson.

“6-1 game, that’s a tough loss,” said German defender Tobias Fohrler. “That’s not the way we wanted to play and that’s not what we expect out of ourselves. They were extremely good today I have to say. They were cycling a lot in our D zone and then it’s tough if we can’t get the puck to create something.”

In the third, the Germans swapped goaltenders, with Mathias Niederberger relieving Grubauer, who must have been exhausted having to make 30 saves on 35 shots over his two periods of work.

Peterka had his second glorious chance of the game in the third on a German 2-on-1 but, once again, was stymied by Ersson. The German fans finally had something to cheer for at 7:38 when Leonhard Pfoderl jammed in a loose puck past Ersson.

Isac Lundestrom restored Sweden’s five-goal lead when he finished a play set up by Karlsson at 11:08. Karlsson now has five points in three games.

“This was our best game by far. A lot of guys stepped up big time,” said Swedish forward Lucas Raymond. “It was a good win. We took control early in the game and kept it that way. They’re a good team, but the atmosphere here with all our fans travelling to watch us, we wanted to put on a good game for them. That kept us going.”

Sweden has now won the last eight games against Germany at Worlds by a combined score of 37-13. Germany’s last win over Sweden came in 1992.
 

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