Shoot-out despair as Sweden lose to Czechs

Sweden fell at the semi final stage in the world ice hockey championship as the "Three Crowns" were edged out 3-2 by the Czech Republic in a penalty shoot-out in Cologne on Saturday.

Shoot-out despair as Sweden lose to Czechs

Defenders Tomas Mojzis and Karel Rachunek were both on target for the Czech Republic, while goaltender Tomas Vokoun produced 33 saves for his side’s hard-fought win.

“It was really hard to win today,” defender Miroslav Blatak said. “We left all we have at the ice. We started nervously and were penalised too often in the beginning.

“Luckily we managed to find our nerve again later to save the match in the last seconds and win in the shoot-out lottery.”

“Tomorrow it will be even harder…but we will do everything to win.”

The longstanding opponents Sweden and Czech Republic started cautiously trying to avoid unnecessary risks and seeking to pounce on their rivals’ defensive frailties.

Sweden received a 52s two-man powerplay advantage early in the first period but failed to create any serious threat to Vokoun’s net.

But they were much more productive on their next powerplay opportunity as their forward Johan Harju lifted Sweden 1-0 up sending home a rebound from Erik Karlsson’s shot from the blue line 8:29 into the match.

The Czechs’ rear guard Mojzis pulled to level nine minutes later beating Sweden’s goalie Jonas Gustavsson with a powerful slap shot through the traffic.

Andreas Engqvist put Sweden into the lead again at 31:25 sending the puck into the net from just outside the crease on Tony Mårtensson’s pass from behind the goal line.

In the third period, the Czechs were storming the Swedes’ net but Gustavsson was in command. stopping and deflecting all the pucks thrown at him.

But he was unable to stop Rachunek’s slap shot with just eight seconds to go after Czech manager Vladimir Ruzicka substituted Vokoun for the sixth field player.

In the ensuing shoot-out the Czechs duly prevailed for their second consecutive shoot-out at the tournament and a pass into the final.

In Sunday’s final Czech Republic will face reigning champions Russia, who defeated hosts Germany 2-1 in the other semi-final clash.

Sweden will line up against Germany in the bronze medal match, also on Sunday.

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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.