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HOCKEY

Sweden power past USA to hockey semi-final

Sweden walloped the US in the World Championsip ice hockey quarter-final in Riga on Wednesday afternoon, clearing the way for a semi-final clash with Canada, who beat Slovakia.

The match hero for the Tre Kronor was Mika Hannula, with three goals in the 6-0 victory.

Hannula was an infrequent participant in Sweden’s Olympic victory in Turin in February but since the World Championships began he has hit top form.

His first goal opened the scoring after less than three minutes, after a break from the left and a fierce shot which the US keeper Craig Anderson could not parry.

Just before the 16 minute mark Niklas Kronwall hit a low shot which Anderson stopped with his leg pads, but Hannula picked up the deflection and pushed it into an open goal.

In the second period Mikael Samuelsson added a third and Kenny Jönsson made it 4-0.

The quarter final was as good as over, but the Swedes had more to offer. After 8.41 in the third period Jonas Norduist found Hannula who cooly slotted home his third goal of the match.

With just a minute left on the clock, Andreas Karlsson added a sixth goal to the rout.

The semi-final with Canada, a repeat of the Olympic final, will be played on Saturday.

HOCKEY

Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft

Rasmus Dahlin became just the second Swedish-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL draft on Friday when the Buffalo Sabres used the top pick on the rangy teenage defenceman.

Sweden's Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft
Rasmus Dahlin is bound for Buffalo. Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP
Dahlin, who plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish league and was widely expected to be the first pick, follows Mats Sundin, who was the top choice of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
 
“I just want everything to start,” Dahlin said. “I'm going to bring everything I have to that city. I'm super excited. I can't wait.”
 
Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov went second to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens used the third pick to get Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
 
The draft had a decided Europe flavour as four of the top six players were Europeans. The first American was Brady Tkachuk who went to the Ottawa Senators at No. 4 and the Phoenix Coyotes took the first Canadian Barrett Hayton with the fifth pick. 
 
The 18-year-old Dahlin said he was happy to call Buffalo home despite the fact they haven't had a winning season in the past seven seasons and have missed the playoffs eight years in a row.
 
“It's amazing to finally put on the Buffalo Sabres' jersey,” Dahlin said. “I've been there twice. I love that city.”
 
The six-foot-three, 185-pound Dahlin was honoured as the best defenceman at the 2018 world junior championship in Buffalo, registering six assists in seven games. He also played twice for Sweden as a 17-year-old at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
 
At number six, the Detroit Red Wings chose the brash Halifax Mooseheads winger Filip Zadina who vowed to make teams that passed on him pay down the road.
 
“I'm telling my agent if they will pass on me, I will fill their net with the puck,” the Czech Zadina said. “Yeah, it's just I want to prove to them that they have done a bad decision.”
 
The lone trade of the day came before the draft when the Colorado Avalanche acquired backup goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenceman Brooks Orpik from the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals for the 47th pick. The Capitals were willing to get rid of Orpik and Grubauer so they could create salary cap space to sign free agents.