Hockey: Sweden top Russia, North America stun Finland
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[September 19, 2016]
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO (Reuters) - Jacob Markstrom
stepped in admirably for Henrik Lundqvist as Sweden held on to beat
Russia while Team North America dazzled in their debut with a
dominant win over Finland at the World Cup of Hockey on Sunday.
Markstrom, who started in place of an ill Lundqvist, kept Russia's
potent scoring attack off the board until Alex Ovechkin scored with
33 seconds remaining but Sweden hung on for a 2-1 win in the
tournament opener for both teams.
"You got to be ready every time you come to the rink," said
Markstrom, 26, who only learned he was starting in net a couple
hours before the game.
"You can't just come in with a muffin and hot chocolate... you got
to prepare yourself and get the body to be ready if it's time to
Lundqvist is one of the finest goaltenders of his generation and a
key reason why Sweden are expected to reach the gold medal game on
Oct. 1, but Markstrom showed he was up for the challenge as he made
27 saves in the win.
Markstrom, who has competed in world championships and has won a
gold medal on the international stage, had little time to settle in
as he was forced to stop a Vladimir Tarasenko one-timer 30 seconds
into the game.
Sweden's Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring in the second period
when his slapshot from just outside the faceoff circle glanced off
the post and past the screened Russian goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky.
Victor Hedman doubled Sweden's lead two minutes later when he came
off the bench and immediately took a feed from Carl Hagelin and sent
a one-timer into the net for what proved to be the game-winner.
Russia appeared to tie the game with seven seconds left in
regulation but a video review showed the puck went into the Swedish
net off Ovechkin's glove.
Sweden face Finland on Tuesday.
For Russia, the loss puts added significance on their Monday clash
with Team North America, a potent mix of U.S. and Canadian players
under the age of 23 who got their three-game group stage off to a
Team North America, a talent-laden squad dismissed by many as
gimmicky when the tournament format was announced, cruised to a 4-1
win over Finland, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalists who also won a
silver medal at this year's world championships.
[to top of second column]
Team Sweden Goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) makes the save against
Team Russia in the first period during preliminary round play in the
2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit:
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
American Jack Eichel put North America on the board five minutes
into the game before the young guns put the Group B clash out of
Finland's reach with a three-goal second period.
U.S. winger Johnny Gaudreau and Canadian Jonathan Drouin scored
during a two-minute span while Canadian Nathan MacKinnon added
another with about five minutes to go in the second.
Finland, who were outshot 43-25, spoiled Canadian Matt Murray's
shutout bid when Valtteri Filppula scored with about four minutes to
"We're so undervalued and so unknown. No one really knows what we
can do, we take that role and run with it," said Team North America
captain Connor McDavid.
"We're playing the Russians tomorrow, a hockey giant, it's going to
be a good test for us but we're excited about it."
(Additional reporting by Jonathan Turner; Editing by Larry
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