(Gothenburg) Sweden will have the opportunity to win the gold medal in front of their fans at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Jonathan Lekkerimaki scored the winning goal on the power play and added the insurance goal for the Swedes, who defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 in the first of two semifinals on Thursday.
The Vancouver Canucks prospect fired a one-timer that beat Michael Hrabal to give Sweden a 3-2 lead.
Noah Ostlund then hit the target on a breakaway with about eight minutes remaining in the third period. Lekkerimaki closed the books just 62 seconds later, after accepting a pass from Ostlund.
The United States and Finland will face off later this afternoon to determine which team will join Sweden in the final.
“It will be very fun,” Lekkerimaki said of the gold medal game. I am very excited. »
Defensemen Axel Sandin Pellikka, who added an assist, and Theo Lindstein also scored for Sweden. Hugo Havelid recorded the victory with 23 saves.
The Swedes have only won the annual under-20 competition twice. His last triumph dates back to 2012, after winning the gold medal in 1981.
” It is enormous. At home too. There’s nothing that beats that,” defenseman Tom Willander said.
Matyas Melovsky and Tomas Cibulka responded for Czechia, who upset Canada 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Hrabal suffered defeat.
“I am proud of the team,” said Czech head coach Patrik Augusta. The guys worked to the max. They created a team, that’s what’s most important. I don’t have a group of individuals. »
The Swedes, who settled for the silver medal 11 times, lost to the United States in the bronze medal game in Halifax last year.
Melovsky opened the scoring Thursday at 6:55 of the first period. Lindstein tied the game a few minutes later after Hrabal fumbled his point shot.
Sandin Pellikka gave Sweden the lead at the start of the second period. His point shot surprised Hrabal on the glove side. The Czechs leveled the score less than five minutes later, following a violent one-timer from Cibulka, who scored his second goal in as many games.
In the relegation match earlier Thursday, Germany blew a two-goal lead in the third period, but defeated Norway 5-4 in overtime to secure its spot at the next tournament in Ottawa.