Titleholders Sweden will progress to the Junior Hockey World Championship final after a hard-fought shootout win against host nation Russia.
The Russians, who entered the match after a difficult shootout win against Switzerland less than 24 hours ago, apparently didn’t have any strength left for the semifinal.
Mihail Varnakov’s men failed to come up with a single on-target shot in the opening period, leaving Swedish keeper Elias Lindholm unoccupied.
Russian goaltender Andrey Vasilevsky was forced to work hard, but was still beaten twice by Niklas Lundstrom and Filip Forsberg, 0-2.
Team Russia looked poised for a rebound during the second 20-minute period, catching plenty of chances, but only scored once.
Andrey Mironov’s shot was deflected by one of the Swedish players's sticks and went into the net in the 28th minute, 1-2.
The host kept on attacking in the third period, and managed to send the game into overtime: Mikhail Grigorenko punished the Swedish defenders for failing to clear the puck from the crease in the 48th minute, 2-2.
The Russians played harder in the extra 10 minutes, but the score remained unchanged. The match was decided in a shootout, with Sweden's Sebastian Collberg scoring, 2-3.
Sweden will take on the US in the decider on January 5, after a major upset in which they thrashed Canada in the previous semifinal.
US team captain Jake McCabe won the night with his two first-period goals, laying a foundation for his team’s 5-1 win.
Russia and Canada will battle it out for the bronze on Saturday. The two teams have already met at the tournament, with Canada coming out confidently as the 4-1 winners.
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