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HOCKEY

Tre Kronor ekes out OT win against Czechs

Mattias Weinhandl scored the game winner in overtime as Sweden beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the World Ice Hockey Championships on Wednesday.

Tre Kronor ekes out OT win against Czechs

With the victory, Sweden advanced to play Canada in the semi-finals on Friday at the Colisee arena in Quebec City.

Weinhandl backhanded a shot from in close past Czech goalie Milan Hnilicka with 3:15 gone in the sudden-death overtime period.

Weinhandl said he just swatted at the puck and was surprised it went in.

“I did not see the puck,” said the 27-year-old forward who plays for Linkopings HC.

Patric Hornqvist and Marcus Nilson also scored for Sweden, which reached its eighth consecutive semi-final at the World Championships. Their last loss in the quarters was a 2-1 defeat to Finland in 2000.

Radim Vrbata and Tomas Rolinek scored for the Czechs who have reached the quarters every year since the current playoff format was introduced in 2000.

“They got the lucky goal,” Vrbata said.

Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves on Wednesday for Sweden who last won gold in

2006.

The New York Ranger goalie joined Sweden halfway through the round robin. He posted ten shutouts this past season, the most by a Ranger goalie since the

1920s.

Swedish defenceman Anton Stralman said he is looking forward to taking on unbeaten Canada.

“We have a good group of players even though a lot of them are playing in the Swedish league and the not the NHL,” Stralman said. “We are gonna give them (Canada) a good fight.”

Lundqvist shut down the Czechs big guns on Wednesday as Patrik Elias had five shots on goal for the Czechs but couldn’t score. Elisa leads the Czechs with five goals in the tournament.

Czech defenceman Tomas Kaberle had 10 points in six games, but he was also held off the scoresheet on Wednesday.

Hnilicka stopped 28 shots for the Czechs who took 10 penalties to just four for the Swedes.

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.