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ICE HOCKEY

Swedes to face Finland in ice hockey final

Sweden reached its first ice hockey World Cup Final in ice hockey in five years on Saturday, following a comprehensive victory over the Czech Republic.

The ” Three Crowns” will meet Finland in the final on Sunday after beating the reigning champions 5-2 in a thrilling semi-final on Friday. It was a particularly satisfying outcome for coach Pär Marts after the disappintment of four consecutive defeats at the semi final stage.

“I think we were in control right from the start, we deservedly won in style. I’m really pleased” said Marts to AFP.

In Sunday’s final in Bratislava the Swedes will meet old foes Finland who defeated Russia in the other semi yesterday. Sweden-Finalnd will be seen by many as a dream final and give the Finns a long awaited opportunity for revenge, following Sweden’s victory in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, the last time the two sides met in a final.

To meet Sweden is always a bit special, even more so that it is in the final,” Finnish defender Pasi Puistola, who plays for Swedish side HV71, said to Expressen.

“Losing this match is not an option for us .”

Sweden reached the final after a hard-faught victory over the Czechs. They went behind early in the second period before gradually taking control of the game and storming into an unassailable 4-1 lead.

When the Czechs reduced the deficit late on, it was fitting that man-of-the-match Patrik Berglund scored the game’s final goal.

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ICE HOCKEY

Sweden beat Swiss to win ice hockey world title in shoot-out drama

Sweden retained their world championship title with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over plucky Switzerland in Copenhagen on Sunday.

Sweden beat Swiss to win ice hockey world title in shoot-out drama
Swiss players react after the defeat to Sweden. Photo: AFP

Filip Forsberg of the NHL's Nashville Predators scored the winning penalty as Sweden came back from 1-0 down in the shoot-out to win 2-1 following a 2-2 draw after overtime.

Surprise finalists Switzerland had been aiming for their first ever world title, while Sweden claimed an 11th crown.

Sweden had been the only unbeaten team through the group stage while Switzerland scraped into the quarter-finals with the weakest record.

But they stunned Group B winners Finland and then Canada to take their place in a third world championship final.

Five years ago they had lost to Sweden, who beat them 5-3 in the group stages too.

Switzerland twice took the lead, in each of the first two periods, but were pegged back by the favourites before the end of each stanza.

Minnesota Wild's Nino Niederreiter had given them a 16th minute lead but Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings equalised a minute later.

On 23 minutes Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks put the underdogs in front again, but that was wiped out by New York Ranger Mika Zibanejad on 34 minutes.

With no scores in either the third period or overtime, the final was decided by a shoot-out where Switzerland once again took the lead.

But Oliver Ekman-Larsson cancelled out Sven Andrighetto's successful strike, allowing Forsberg to become the hero.

Christopher Kreider of the Rangers scored twice as the United States thumped Canada 4-1 to take the bronze medal.

 After Kreider opened the scoring, Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the Sharks equalised.

But goals from Nashville's Nicholas Bonino and Anders Lee of the New York Islanders put the US in charge before Kreider rounded out the win.