In this article, you will get all information regarding 3 takeaways from Sweden’s 11-0 win against Austria
Sweden enters the Junior WC 2023 as one of the favorites to win a medal and challenge for gold. But their path to the title goes through defending champions Canada, who won it all last August. Also, these two teams meet in a highly anticipated New Year’s Eve match.
Related: 2023 Guide to the World Junior Championships
That match could be the highlight of the schedule; But to build momentum for that clash, Sweden took on Austria in the opening match of the tournament. After Sweden collected 21 shots to their opponent’s three in the first period, the contest could turn into one of those trap games.
TSN announcers Gord Miller and Mike Johnson mentioned that a goaltender from a lower-ranked European team stands on their head every year, resulting in an incredible upset. In this game, where Sweden took most of the period to find their goals, Austria held Sweden to just two goals, and Thomas Pfarrmaier stood tall and earned a save of the tournament in just the first period.
Pfarrmaier’s heroics were short-lived, however, as Sweden exploded for six goals in the second period and then tacked on three goals in the third for a dominant 11-0 win over Austria. Still, Sweden has little time to prepare for its next match on Tuesday against Germany. Here are three takeaways from this game to keep an eye on moving forward.
Sweden Points by committee
Tre Kronor has a plethora of NHL drafted players in the lineup, including current American Hockey League stars who Fabian Lysell (Providence Bruins), Isak Rosén (Rochester Americans), and Jonathan Lekkerimakidrafted 15th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2022. Before the puck dropped, all eyes were on these players as Lysell and Rosén returned to the tournament and Lekkerimaki had a chance to grow his stock.
The rose took the lead of the game early, taking into account the first three goals; however, his play inspired the rest of the team, with another eight players contributing goals. He had two, along with Filip Bystedt, the only two players with a pair. Ludvig Jansson and Fabian Wagner had three points to lead the Swedish offense with Rosén and Bystedt, in addition to 16 other players who scored.
As the game ended, Johnson talked about the importance of putting pre-tournament play behind him and using a matchup against Austria to get the offense going. Sweden checked both boxes by not putting pressure on their stars to carry the offense but spreading it out and letting everyone come in and build confidence. Anything is possible in a short tournament format, so attacking opponents as a team will always yield better results than one or two players carrying the burden.
Sweden’s special teams should be in focus
When someone looks back at Sweden and Austria’s scorecards, they will see the 11-0 scoreline and appreciate that the Swedes dominated on the power play. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and that could be one of the holes in their game. They went 2-for-8 (25 percent) in pre-tournament games, which will only scare a few opponents, given the amount of talent in the lineup.
Related: Team Sweden players to watch at the 2023 WJC
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Before a late third power-play goal from Bystedt, the Swedes were scoreless on the man advantage despite a handful of chances through the first 40 minutes. It’s no secret that scoring a power-play goal can make or break a tournament; a team of Sweden’s caliber shouldn’t walk away from a blowout win with just one powerplay result. Their next opponent, Germany, may be more disciplined, and when they face Canada in a few days, they may just get a chance to capitalize on the power play.
Special teams was a non-factor in this win as the game’s only shorthanded field goal by Milton Oscarson resulted from a fumble and a costly turnover. Although Sweden dominated all aspects of this competitionthey didn’t run with key opportunities, which could be a problem as they look to advance in the medal round.
Sweden must be hungry in the next match
Sweden had 21 shots on goal in the first period but scored their first goal at 13:17. Sure, they had a 2-0 lead against the tournament’s lowest-ranked team after 20 minutes, but goalkeeper Carl Lindbom was only responsible for three shots. He finished the contest with a 13-save shutout and didn’t feel pressured as his defensemen shut down any exclusive scoring opportunities.
Goalkeepers need to stay engaged in the game to stay sharp, and today Lindbom had a chance to get his feet wet at the 2023 tournament. However, the upcoming games for Sweden will be challenging, and the intensity will increase, affecting everything they do. The saves will become more demanding, the sharp passes will be interrupted and missed opportunities will linger.
Sweden dominated a weaker opponent, which is positive and negative. While there was no hint of players developing bad habits as everyone was committed to the offense, this team must be hungry night after night to keep up the intensity they had in the second and third periods.
There is a good chance the Swedes will never play 51 shots on target again this tournament, so to reach the podium with a medal they will have to make the most of their limited opportunities.
Ryan Gagne is back for his second tour with The Hockey Writers. In 2021, he covered the New York Islanders and will now take on the challenge of covering the Calgary Flames. The best thing about this new assignment is that Ryan currently lives in Edmonton and will get to see both sides of the Battle of Alberta up close. None of this will make much sense since he was born and raised in New England and the Boston Bruins are still his team.
3 takeaways from Sweden’s 11-0 win against Austria
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