A large crowd came to see a goaltending duel between Filip Gustavsson and Adam Brízgala, with a spot in the semi-finals at stake. No goals were scored until the third period, when Bratt and Oskar scored to send the Swedes into the semi-finals against Finland. The Czechs will host the USA for 5th place.
Penalties: 6:10. PP goals: 0:0. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Pešina, Pražák – Gebauer, Lederer. Attendance: 2760.
Both Filip Gustavsson and Adam Brizgala were commended for their efforts in their games against Canada earlier in the tournament – Brizgala allowing three goals and Gustavsson only one against the powerful team. This time they faced each other at opposite ends, with the winner of the duel taking his team to the semi-finals on Friday. In the end the winners were Gustavsson and the Swedes, but it took a while for either side to crack.
There were chances on both sides in the first 40 minutes, mostly for the Czechs, but no goals. The first chance went to the Czechs at the three-minute mark, when Kristian Reichel elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 but was denied by Gustavsson. Then not really much until the 25th minute on a Czech power play, when a bad Swedish clearing attempt landed on the stick of Ondrej Vala, who fired high. Then a Czech giveaway with the teams playing 4-on-4 gave a great chance to Jesper Bokqvist, but he hit the goalpost. Finally in the dying seconds of the second period the Czechs got a wonderful chance to open the scoring when Tomas Psenicka was hooked on a breakaway by Alexander Nylander. The crowd of 2,760 came alive as Psenicka skated out to centre ice to take his shot, but were quieted when Gustavsson showed five-hole, then took away as the Czech shooter tried to hit it. After 40 minutes the shots were 13–12 for Sweden, but the score was 0–0.
Both teams began the third period knowing the game´s first goal might also be its last. Less than two minutes in, Sweden sent two players in alone on Brizgala, but Linus Weissbach hit the Swedes´ second post of the game. Finally, just past the 45-minute mark, the goal came. One got the feeling that it was going to take a perfect shot to beat either of these goalies, and that´s exactly what Jesper Bratt unleashed – a one-timer to the top corner after a perfect pass from William Fallstrom. Less than a minute later the Czechs were penalized, taking two minutes off the time they had left to get the equalizer.
After killing off the penalty the Czechs started to press, but of course that left them vulnerable to the counter-attack and Linus Lindstrom sprang Oskar Stal Lyranus on a breakaway. He went to his backhand and slid the puck between Brizgala´s pads to make it 2–0 with 9:10 on the clock.
The Czechs got two power plays after that and got some good possession in the attacking zone. Coach Robert Reichel pulled Brizgala at the start of the last penalty with over three minutes left and it produced some chances, but not a goal. The best chance for the Czechs in the dying minutes was by Tomas Smerha, who couldn´t put it in the open side. Time ran out and the Swedes poured off the ice to celebrate their victory, while the fans stood and cheered the effort of the host team. With the win, the Swedes now travel to Bratislava, where they will renew the Nordic Derby against Finland. The Czechs, meanwhile, will stay in Breclav and face the USA in the game for fifth place.
Robert Reichel (head coach of Team Czech Republic): We couldn´t score a goal – that was the biggest problem. We had the chances, we went even a penalty shot, but nothing went in. Then they took advantage of an absolutely perfect play. Then we tried to get the boys to step up the offence, but that led to the second goal. Maybe our team showed its fatigue, because to play in kind of atmosphere for the fourth game in five days is not easy. The ice was the same for everyone, we can´t use that as an excuse. The guys worked hard all the way, for their commitment and tenacity, we have to commend them.
Bendelin Torgny (head coach of Team Sweden): I think right from the beginning we turned in a very professional performance. Except for the first nine minutes of the second period when the Czechs carried the play a little bit, we had the upper hand hand the rest of the game. Of course, if the Czechs had scored on that penalty shot at the end of the second period, the result could have been different. But our players played a great game on offence and defence. I´m really proud of this team. Now we have a Nordic semi-final with Finland. Every year they have a great team. I must say that I was slightly surprised by their win over Russia. When you defeat Russia, you have to have a really great team. It will be a really tough game. Maybe the Finns will have a slight advantage in that they will play in Bratislava. We will have to get used to the new arena and the new environment. On the other hand, today the Czechs had home-ice advantage and we beat them.