They trailed 2-0 entering the third period, but the Swedes scored three straight goals to take the lead, surrendered a late equalizer, but then won it on an overtime goal by Jacob Olofsson to claim the bronze medal at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Penalties: 1:4. PP goals: 0:0. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Baluška, Konc D. - Výleta, Šefčík. Attendance: 350.
The Russians broke out of the gate quickly and scored after only 18 seconds when Dmitri Zavgorodny capitalized on a turnover just inside the Swedish blueline and took it to the net, beating one defenceman with a head-fake and then beating Olof Lindbom with a wrister inside the post to the stick side. After being held off the scoresheet in the semi-final, it was the 5th goal and tournament-leading 10th point for Zavorogny.
Although Sweden outshot Russia 10-7 in the opening period and again by the same margin in the second, it seemed to be Russia that got the better scoring opportunities, including a breakaway by Ruslan Iskhakov late in the period that was stopped by Lindbom. The Russians finally increased their lead to two goals in the 28th minute when Damir Bilyakov’s shot from the boards was deflected out of mid-air by Igor Sokolov in front of the net. Video replay was needed but contact was made below the crossbar and the goal stood.
For nearly half of the third period, it looked like time was running out on the Swedes, but then they struck twice in a span of 3:02. First Jonatan Berggen got them on the board nearly halfway through the middle frame, taking a pass from Adam Ginning and ripping a wrister blocker side on Amir Miftakhov. Then it was Adam Boqvist with his first goal of the tournament to go along with 6 assists, scoring on a 1-on-3 situation and going through the legs of one defenceman to tie the game with 7:41 to play.
They kept coming and finally Hallander scored the winner, taking a drop pass from Lukas Wermberg and making a nice move to beat Miftakhov five-hole from in tight. With exactly three minutes to play, it looked like the Swedes had momentum on their side and would bring the game home. However, the Russians had other ideas, and with their goalie out for a sixth attacker, Nikita Okhotyuk’s shot from the point went untouched through a crowd in front and into the net to tie the score back up at 3 with just 23 seconds left in regulation time.
The Swedes recovered, though, and scored on the only shot in overtime, although it took over four minutes. It was a long-range shot from Jacob Olofsson, which hit Miftakhov and slid into the net for the bronze-winning goal.
Torgny Bendelin (head coach, Team Sweden): “I have to say, we just witnessed a very good game with speed and action. We had a lot of chances and were unlucky to be down 2-0, I thought. In the third third we improved more in their end and we controlled the game, but we still gave up that tying goal - that is sport. When I think about the whole tournament, I think of the game against Switzerland, where we had some problems but we won, and we were expecting a very different game because we had to play with Canada, and I must admit that they outplayed us in some moments. It’s too bad what happened that game, but nonetheless we’re going home with bronze medals, which is some measure of success.”