International Ice Hockey Federation

Swedes down Swiss

Swedes down Swiss

Berggren’s hat trick dooms Switzerland

Published 19.04.2018 18:54 GMT+5 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Swedes down Swiss
MAGNITOGORSK, RUSSIA - APRIL 19: Sweden's Jonatan Berggren #17 stickhandles the puck up the ice during preliminary round action against Switzerland at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Jonathan Berggren led the way with a hat trick as Sweden beat Switzerland 3-1 to open the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Championship in Magnitogorsk on Thursday.

It was an impressive U18 debut for the 17-year-old Uppsala native. Berggren went pointless in 10 SHL regular season games with Skelleftea but added one assist in two playoff games.

"I was lucky," said Berggren. "I have good teammates that let me play my game. This gives me a very big boost."

Kyen Sopa scored for Switzerland.

"We had a good start where the puck bounced for us," said Swiss coach Thierry Paterlini. "After that we let go a bit. Against a great team like Sweden, we need to push harder to get the goals. "

The Swedes are gunning for their first medal since 2016's silver and first gold ever. The Swiss have only medalled once in tournament history with 2001's silver.

At the Arena Metallurg, each period kicks off with an instrumental version of Van Halen’s “Jump,” and both teams came out with lots of jump.

Captain Adam Ginning and top NHL draft prospect Adam Boqvist teamed up effectively on the top Swedish defensive pairing, helping their goalie Olof Lindblom win his duel with Switzerland’s Luca Hollenstein. Sweden outshot the Swiss 33-22.

"I think we played good, but we can play better," said Boqvist. "It was the first game and we were nervous."

At 15:39, Berggren opened the scoring for Sweden. He busted down the wing, pulled up in the right faceoff circle and used Swiss defenceman Guillaume Anex as a decoy as he beat Hollenstein high to the stick side. For the first time at this tournament, “En For All For En,” the classic Swedish goal song from the 2013 home-ice Worlds gold in Stockholm, resounded through the arena. The Smakronorna dominated the first period, although Switzerland managed a little push before the buzzer.

Sweden went up 2-0 exactly halfway through the second period. Capitalizing on a Swiss turnover, David Gustafsson swooped in on net and dished a sweet backhand to Berggren, who zinged it home.

At 10:59, Switzerland cut the deficit to 2-1 on a great play. Gian-Marco Wetter grabbed the puck behind the net and centered it cross-crease to Sopa, who beat Lindbom on the short side.

"It's gonna be a great memory to score at the U18 championships," said Sopa. "Would have been even better with a win, which is disappointing now."

Seconds later, Hollenstein foiled Berggren on a breakaway. But he was helpless when the Skelleftea forward regained the puck and banked it in off a Swiss defender at 11:46 to make it 3-1.

Past the midway mark of the third, Hollenstein came up big again to stop Lukas Wernblom on another breakaway. The Swiss got one final opportunity when Ginning was sent off for checking to the head, but couldn't convert on the power play, even with their goalie pulled for the extra attacker.

"We had 10 really good minutes at the beginning," said Swiss captain Nico Gross. "That's not enough agaisnt a top nation like Sweden."

Swedish assistant captain Jacob Olofsson, who was injured during pre-tournament exhibition play, was a late – and welcome – addition to coach Torgny Bendelin’s roster.

Next up, the Swiss face the Americans on Friday, while Sweden takes on Belarus on Saturday.

The result improved Sweden’s all-time U18 record against Switzerland to 11 wins and one loss, dating back to 1999.

 

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