Swedes swat down Swiss
Swedes swat down Swiss
Nylander leads Sweden with six points in romp
The Swedes will have a showdown with Russia for second place in Group A on Tuesday.
"It’s a very important game for us," Nylander said. "We have to come in like we came into this game and work hard every shift. Everybody has to play their best, and hopefully we’ll win that game."
Nylander's six points versus the Swiss tied him with several players for the second-highest single-game total in IIHF World U18 Championship history. Finland's Toni Rajala set the record with seven points versus Norway in 2009.
"It’s pretty big," said Nylander. "It was a lot of fun to play today with the new linemates."
Marcus Davidsson added two goals and an assist for Sweden. Jesper Bokvist potted a single, and Elias Pettersson had three helpers.
Nando Eggenberger replied for Switzerland, which wraps up its round-robin against the defending champion Americans on Tuesday.
"In the second and third period we took too many penalties," said Swiss captain Livio Stadler. "We were not committed to our game plan. It’s tough. We have to work harder each day and focus on the game tomorrow."
Swedish goalie Filip Gustavsson enjoyed a much lighter outing than Swiss starter Matteo Ritz, who was pulled after surrendering seven goals.
"Ritz is absolutely a good goalie, but we didn’t help him," said Stadler. "We didn’t clear out the rebounds in front of our net."
Shots on goal favoured Sweden 36-13. It was a smart, methodical performance that resembled the style of the senior Tre Kronor team. The Swedish power play was on fire, capitalizing five times.
Of facing Russia next, Swedish coach Torgny Bendelin said: "I think they have a good team. They play well together. You can see their boys have been together for a long time. Of course, it’s going to be a tough game."
Eggenberger made it 1-0 Switzerland on a nice solo dash at 8:55. He outraced Swedish defenceman Erik Brannstrom for a loose puck and cut in off the right side to beat Gustavsson in tight on the forehand.
The Swedes picked up their game after that -- significantly.
Nylander tied it up at 15:04, as he had all day to roof the puck over a down-and-out Ritz after receiving a cross-ice pass from Lias Andersson. The younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander was named the OHL’s rookie of the year today after recording 75 points in 57 games for the Mississauga Steelheads.
"It’s very nice to get that honor," said Nylander. "I couldn’t do it without my coaching staff and my teammates."
Sweden went up 2-1 at 2:33 of the second period. Timothy Liljegren stepped in off the blue line, faked a slap shot, and then sent a slap pass to Davidsson, who tipped it through Ritz’s legs from the high slot.
Thomas Lust had a great chance to knot the score on a shorthanded breakaway with about five minutes left in the middle frame, but he lost the puck as he tried to deke the goalie. That was the last gasp for the Swiss.
The Swedes started to pull away with a power play goal at 16:09. Davidsson whacked a rebound past Ritz's right leg to make it 3-1.
Nylander put the game out of reach at 18:56 when he dipsy-doodled past Switzerland's Kai Suter and sent a great wrister over Ritz's blocker.
In the third period, Wahlgren scored his natural hat trick entirely on the power play in just 2:57. That shattered the old record for the fastest U18 hat trick, set by Kazakhstan's Konstantin Pushkarev in 2003 versus Belarus in 7:14.
At 6:28, Wahlgren came down right wing and beat Ritz cleanly on the blocker side. He followed that up with a nice breakaway goal at 8:17 and then scored from the slot at 9:25.
At 10:04, Bokvist stickhandled to the net unbobstructed and scored on the backhand to round out the scoring at 8-1.
"We’d been a little bit so-so before," Bendelin reflected. "I said before it was important for the players to score a couple of goals and just let it go instead of playing under pressure."
With eight points in total so far, Nylander is now in contention for the tournament scoring title.
This was the 11th U18 meeting of all time between these two nations. Sweden also won every time before, except for a 3-2 defeat in 2002.
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