Sweden beat Germany in hockey opener

Sweden opened their Olympic hockey title defence with a 2-0 victory over Germany on Wednesday with goals from Mattius Öhlund and Loui Ericksson.

Öhlund scored on the powerplay and Loui Ericksson scored in the second period for Sweden who are trying to become the first country to win back-to-back gold since the Soviet Union in 1984 (Sarajevo) and 1988 (Calgary).

Swedish goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist was the hero of the opening match, stopping 21 shots to keep a clean sheet.

“It felt important to get a good start,” Lundqvist said. “Heading into the game, I was nervous. It always feels good to have a shutout.”

The game also marked the North American return of Peter Forsberg whose NHL career was doomed because of a string of injuries.

The 36-year-old Forsberg, who has battled foot, back and groin problems, played on the powerplay and made some impressive passes but isn’t as fast as he used to be.

“I was nervous in the beginning,” said Forsberg, who had no shots in 12:57 minutes of playing time. “It is great to be back. I don’t think I will ever be healthy again. I am just going to do my best and see how it goes.”

Forsberg, who last played in the NHL in 2007, is seeking to become just the seventh player to win three gold medals. He captured gold in 2006 in Turin and

1994 in Lillehammer.

Öhlund opened the scoring five minutes into the second period with a shot from the point past a screened German goaltender Thomas Greiss.

Germany argued that Swedish forward Daniel Sedin interfered with Greiss but the referee didn’t agree.

Eriksson scored late in the second period to make it 2-0. Daniel Alfredsson forced the turnover behind the German net and Nicklas Backstrom picked up the loose puck and fed Eriksson for the goal.

Sweden is playing without forward Tomas Holmström who was scratched from the Olympics at the last minute after suffering a left knee injury.

Holmström’s Detroit Red Wings teammate Johan Franzen replaced him on the Swedish roster.

Germany couldn’t get one past all-star goaltender Lundqvist even when they had a five-on-three powerplay advantage in the second.

They buzzed the net, defenceman Christian Ehrhoff hit the post, but they failed to finish off their chances.

Germany is hoping to improve on its sixth-place finish at the Albertville 1992 Olympics, its best result since the reuinification. Its only medal was a bronze at the 1932 Lake Placid Games.

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.