Sun, May 15, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Sweden, Finland advance to finals at hockey worlds


Finland’s Leo Komarov, rigth, jumps in the air in front of Russia goalkeeper Konstantin Barulin, left, during their world championship semi-final match on Friday in Bratislava.

Photo: AFP

Two goals from St Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund helped Sweden oust defending champions Czech Republic 5-2 in the world ice hockey championship semi-final on Friday.

Sweden will now play Finland in an all-Nordic final after they powered to a 3-0 win over Russia inspired by a spectacular goal from 19-year-old Mikael Granlund, the youngest player in the team.

Russia’s NHL heavyweights Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk never got going as Finland breezed through.

After a scoreless first period, Granlund scooped the puck up on to his stick behind Russia’s goal, before flipping it past Russia netminder Konstantin Barulin.

The goal was allowed to stand after a video review to determine whether his stick had been swung too high.

“It was one of the best things I have ever seen in my career,” Washington Capitals left wing Ovechkin told reporters of Granlund’s trick-shot goal.

The teenager’s Finnish teammate Jyrki Valivaara echoed Ovechkin’s sentiment.

“It was amazing. I haven’t seen him do that before,” Valivaara said. “We were all just laughing on the bench. He has a great future.”

Finnland also grabbed two goals inside two minutes in the third period through Jani Lajunen and Jarkko Immonen.

In the other semi-final, the Czech Republic opened the scoring at the start of the second period when Marek Zidlicky skated down the wing to set up a goal for Patrik Elias.

Sweden equalized a minute later when Berglund hammered in a slap shot from the point.

Mikael Backlund made it 2-1 to Sweden later in the same period with a wrist shot that gave netminder Ondrej Pavelec little chance.

The Czech Republic peppered the goal in the third period, but netminder Viktor Fasth held them at bay and Jimmie Ericsson extended Sweden’s lead after latching on to a pass from Backlund.

Jakob Silfverberg added a fourth goal. Elias pulled one back for the Czech Republic, before Berglund scored into an empty net.

“We had to respect the Czechs because they are a good team,” Sweden captain Berglund said. “We have had some tough games in the tournament and did a good job in this one to keep pressing.”

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