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The US steals Sweden’s hockey gold dreams

Sweden failed to defend their World Junior Ice Hockey Championships gold on Saturday as the United States clinched a 3-1 win in the final in Ufa, Russia.

The US steals Sweden's hockey gold dreams

Sweden started out strong. Forward Filip Sandberg put the team ahead in the second period.

But the US turned the game, with Rocco Grimaldi scoring twice in a three-minute span and Vince Trochek adding an empty-net goal in the final seconds.

Despite massive pressure from Sweden towards the end of the game, the team failed to get the puck past US goalie John Gibson.

Saturday’s final marks 12 straight wins for the United States against Sweden. It has been 17 years since Sweden won against the US in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Sweden won 11 WJHC games in a row after losing the bronze medal to the United States in Buffalo in 2011.

Saturday’s loss meant the Swedes failed to defend the gold taken in last year’s final victory against Russia in Calgary.

It was the third title for the Americans, who also won in 2004 and 2010.

American goalie John Gibson made 26 saves for the victory and was named the MVP of the tournament. Niklas Lundström had 31 saves for Sweden.

Sweden will get the chance to reclaim the title on homeground at the next WJCH, which will be held in Malmö.

But it will be without team captain Roger Rönnberg. He is being replaced by assistant coach Rikard Grönborg.

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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.