When you are the underdog in a hockey game sometimes it is up to your goalie to keep you in the game. Sweden went into their second preliminary game in the 2017 edition of the World Junior Championships (happening in Montreal and Toronto) the heavy favourites against Switzerland. Though no David versus Goliath by any means, Sweden was expected to win. For the Swiss to have any chance at victory their goalie Joren von Pottelberghe was going to have to stand on his head and the Swiss were going to have to capitalize on their few and far between chances. This is how things played out at the Bell Centre until late in the 3rd period.
The game started off with a flurry of goals making it seem like it was going to be a last shot wins type of game. Beginning in the 4th minute of play and ending at 6:28 the Swedes had taken a 2-1 lead due to two 5-on-5 goals for the team in yellow and blue by captain Joel Eriksson Ek and Lias Andersson. Switzerland tallied theirs courtesy of a power play goal by Jonas Siegenthaler on a harmless looking wrist shot from the point that Swedish goalie Felix Sandstrom would like to have back, I am sure.
After those three quick goals the two sides settled down and played some defense. The score remained 2-1 until 6:17 of the 2nd period. Once again Sandstrom did not look great on a wrap around by Swiss captain Calvin Thurkauf 21 seconds into a power play. Sandstrom did not anchor his body to the post and allowed for some room for Thurkauf to squeeze the puck past him.
Again after that goal the game remained scoreless for quite a spell. This despite the fact that the Swedes had loads of shots and several good scoring chances. Potential hero von Pottelberghe made a crisp glove grab robbing Oliver Kylington to keep the game tied. The ice was tilted towards the Swiss end with the Swedes outshooting them 17-4 in the 3rd period. The Swiss were even gifted a chance on the power play in the 3rd period, but could not convert. Though they will never admit it, the Swedes must have been feeling the pressure. Sticks were being held much tighter as a result. Finally, despite the best efforts of the Swiss and their barraged goaltender, Sweden was able to strike for two quick goals late in the final frame. It was once again Eriksson Ek and Lucas Carlsson, whose goal with 2:49 left in the game iced the affair, scoring the goals.
Though in most instances when you don’t have a personal stake in a hockey game so you end up finding yourself cheering for the underdog, the deserving team won this game. Sweden dominated with the Swiss just holding on for dear life.
-Goals: 1st Period:
4:13: Sweden – Joel Eriksson Ek assisted by Alexander Nylander and David Bernhardt
5:08: Switzerland – (pp) Jonas Siegenthaler assisted by Damien Riat and Loic In Albon
6:28: Sweden – Lias Andersson assisted by Carl Grundstrom
6:17: Switzerland – (pp) Calvin Thurkauf assisted by Nico Hishchier and Jonas Siegenthaler
14:52: Sweden – Joel Eriksson Ek assisted by Carl Grundstrom and Alexander Nylander
17:11: Sweden – Lucas Carlsson assisted by Rasmus Asplund
-Shots on Goal: Sweden – 46
Switzerland – 15
-Final Score: Sweden – 4
Switzerland – 2