01 January 2012, World Junior Ice Hockey Championships [WJHC], Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - It was the match we were so nervous about, Russia against Sweden on the ice. The team who’d brought home the victory would skip the quarterfinals and proceed directly to the semis and that was something Sweden was hoping for.
It was already around 4AM [Swedish time] when the Russia-Sweden match began. Hearts were pumping and adrenalin was overflowing, keeping us awake to witness a what-could-be an epic event.
Sweden men's national junior ice hockey team
Photo credit: Aftonbladet.se
The first period was tough for Sweden. Our players made sloppy passes giving Russians chances to get hold of the puck and score. Although Sweden played well on the ice, Russia dominated the first period all the way. It ended with the scoreboard showing: 3-0 for Russia.
Second period --- Sweden’s goalkeeper for the night, Jonas Gustafsson kept his post. The Swedes came in stronger and played smarter. Passes worked better this time. Still, Sweden did not score. Gustafsson did not allow Russia to goal anymore. Score froze at 3-0 in favor of Russia.
Third period --- A sweet comeback for the Swedes! Sweden picked up the pace during the third period. They played the cards right! Oscar Klefbom scored the first goal for Sweden [time clock: 16:43, score: 3-1]. At 07.41 Rickard Rakell turned the score table to 3-2. With only 39.8 seconds remaining, Max Friberg gave his best shot and gave Sweden its third goal for the night. Regular time ended at 3-3. At this point, Sweden was celebrating. It wasn’t a win yet but happiness was already covering the arena!
Russia Vs. Sweden Highlights. YouTube video:
Overtime --- Sweden’s Junior Ice Hockey Team gave their everything. There was no backing down! Pumped up and energized, they moved forward and played their hardest. Each players’ efforts paid off. With 2.16 minutes remaining, Joakim Nordström made the winning goal for Sweden!
Statistics for shots on goal: Russia 26 - Sweden 55
Source: Swedish Ice Hockey Federation via Aftonbladet.se
Russia will meet Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
Moral of the story? Miracles do happen to people who strive the hardest! Congratulations Sweden! See you in the semis! Good luck!
Happy 2012 everyone!