Looks like the Tre Kronor bounced back after their loss to Norway, as they defeated Team USA with relative ease today 6-2 at the World Championship. The win allowed Sweden to claim first place in Group C heading into the qualification round and gives the Americans a tough familiar foe to play on Friday in an undefeated Team Canada.
The Swedes opened the scoring at 17:31 of the first period off of a Patrik Berglund (St. Louis Blues) goal, but the Americans answered less than 2 minutes later on a Cam Fowler power play goal. Assisting on the Fowler goal was Derek Stepan, who now has 4 assists in the tournament. However, a three goal second period by Sweden seemed to put the game out of reach for the US. Blake Wheeler breathed some faith back into the US faithful as he cut the Swedish lead to 4-2 with his third period goal around the halfway mark of the frame. USA did have their chances hitting 3 to 4 posts during the course of the game, but Sweden added two late third period goals to make this game’s score look worse than it truly was.
One major reason for the lopsided score was due to the mediocre play of US goaltender Al Montoya. Making his third consecutive start for the Americans, Montoya stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced in the loss. While Swedish goaltender, Viktor Fasth, stopped 30 of his 32 shots he faced. On a positive note, Craig Smith (University of Wisconsin) had two assists for the US in the game, now giving him 4 points in 3 games at this tournament.
The next USA game should be a good one, as they take on Canada in the opening qualification-round game for both teams. The game will be on Friday, May 6th, at 10:15 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Versus.
Yan Stastny was named U.S. Player of the Game. USA was only 1 for 6 on the power play, while Sweden was 1 for 2. The U.S. has beaten Sweden only once in the last 10 years at the World Championship, that was in 2005.