With Thursday afternoon’s 5-3 win over the Swiss, Team Sweden will play against the Americans in Friday’s gold medal game of the 2004 U-18 Compuware Four Nations Cup tournament in Ann Arbor, MI.
Johan Nilsson (2 goals, 1 assist), Fredrik Petterson (2 goals) and Niklas Backstrom (1 goal, 2 assists) led Sweden to their first victory of the tournament. Sweden (1-1-1) tied Finland and lost to Team USA. Switzerland (1-2) will play Friday’s bronze medal game against Finland.
The opportunistic Swiss team looked like it might steal yet another game in which it was outplayed. Despite being badly outshot and spending most of the game in their own zone, the winger Dario Burglar’s two goals had Switzerland into a 2-2 tie nearing the midway point of the second period.
That’s when forward Johan Nilsson took over. Nilsson received a pass from Kim Sunna and brought the puck behind the Swiss goal. While players battle for position in the slot, Nilsson cut out front and whipped a
low backhand shot under Reto Berra.
At 10:09 of the second period, Nilsson struck again. Nilsson was battling with a defenseman in front of Berra when Nicklas Backstrom fired a slapshot on goal. Berra made the save but couldn’t control the rebound, which hit Nilsson as he was being brought down. The puck squirted into the net and Sweden had a 4-2 lead.
The Swiss team, which appeared tired after three games in four days, made things interesting five minutes into the third period. Deep in Sweden territory, center Samuel Friedli stripped the puck from the normally
surehanded defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. Friedli skated in alone and wired a wristshot over the glove of Swedish goalie Joel Gistedt. The comeback, however, was short-lived.
At the 9:11 mark of the third, Petterson screamed into the slot a chipped a rebound over Berra, who struggled after a fantastic outing Wednesday against the Finns. Tony Christenson and Linus Morin drew assists on 5-3 goal. The goal deflated the tired looking Swiss team, which was unable to mount much more in the way of offense.
Switzerland opened the scoring early in the first when right wing Dario Burglar took a Roger Summermater pass and darted up the middle between three Swedes. Burglar, who had three points in the Finland game, fired a wicked
snap shot over the blocker of Gistedt at 2:08.
Sweden answered four minutes later when Nilsson centered a pass to Backstrom. Backstrom whipped a wristshot over Berra’s glove to tie up the game.
Sweden jumped to a 2-1 before most of the onlookers at reached their seats. Petterson caught nearly everyone by surprise when, from just inside the blueline, he ripped a bullet of a slapshot into the top corner
Five minutes later, Burglar struck again to tie up the game. Winger Adrien Schweizer hit Burglar with a breakaway pass. Burglar, who was dangerous all night, put a nifty move on Gistedt and lifted the puck over
his blocker shoulder.
• Sweden played without two of its top forwards. Patrik Zackrisson, who
was injured by a cross check in the USA game, watched alongside teammate Johan Dahlberg. It was unclear if Dahlberg was hurt or if he was held out because of the skirmish in the USA game. Dahlberg
was tossed for fighting in that game, although few punches were thrown.
• The loss of those two players forced coach Mikael Tisell to juggle
his lines. That meant more ice time for Johan Nilsson and Fredrik
Petterson, who were dangerous all night. The line juggling seemed to confuse scorekeepers at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The official scoresheet credited Johan Dahlberg with two goals, which would be a pretty trick dressed in
his street clothes and sitting in the stands.
• 6’2 Swede defenseman Alexander Hellstrom had his best game of the tourney. He was very physical in his own end all game. He’s not much of a
• Switzerland’s best player was Dario Burglar. Burglar scored two goals and now has five points in the last two games. The 6’0 right winger created scoring chances all night and showed a willingness to fight through
checks along the boards. He has pretty good speed and good balance. Plus he has a heavy wristshot which he gets off quickly. However, he was born in December of 1987, so he’s not eligible for this year’s draft.
• There were just three minor penalties in a game that lacked
intensity. Neither team managed much of an attack on the power play.
• The players of the game were Fredrik Petterson and Dario Burglar. Petterson was dangerous and did score two goals. But Johan Nilsson was even better, scoring two and adding an assist. Plus, he was all over the ice, using his good speed more effectively than he did in his first two games when he was held without a point.
• The US beat Finland 6-3.
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