Updated: Sunday, 19 May 2013 04:16 | By Agence France-Presse

Sweden to face Swiss outsiders in ice hockey world final

Hosts Sweden will play surprise package Switzerland in the final of the world ice hockey championships after each side registered a 3-0 semi-final victory over Finland and the United States respectively.


Sweden to face Swiss outsiders in ice hockey world final

Sweden's forward Gabriel Landeskog (L) tries to score on Finland's goalkeeper Antti Raanta during their semi-final match at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships on May 18, 2013 in Stockholm. Sweden won 3-0.

Sweden's Dallas Stars left winger Loui Eriksson scored two goals and an assist, while goalkeeper Jhonas Enroth produced 30 saves in the team's win over Finland.

The result kept alive the Swedes' hopes of becoming the first team to win the gold medal on home ice since the former Soviet Union did it in 1986.

"We had a tough opponent. Finland are a defensively well-organised team," Swedish manager Par Marts said.

"It's hard to beat them, but we found a way. We played a good game, but we need to play better and we can play better."

He added: "It was a tricky game on home ice. We were under pressure as everybody here expected nothing less than the win from us. But I think we played a good game today and deservedly got a place in the final."

Sweden opened the score 10:33 into the match on a powerplay through Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who sent the puck into the net with the help of a ricochet off Eriksson, who was credited as the scorer.

The Finns poured into attack and began peppering Enroth with shots as they sought an equaliser, but to no avail as the Buffalo Sabres netminder kept a clean sheet.

Eriksson made it 2-0 for Sweden with 3:47 remaining in the second period, firing the puck under the crossbar from Henrik Sedin's pass from behind the goal line when Finland's forward Petri Kontiola was in the sin bin.

Finland coach Jukka Jalonen substituted goalie Antti Raanta for a sixth outfield player with time running down, only to allow Henrik Sedin to score an empty-netter at 59:37 to secure the Swedes' well-deserved win.

"I think we played pretty well today," said Jalonen.

"We had the same amount of scoring chances, but we didn't put the puck into the net and if you don't score you don't win. Sweden were very efficient on the power play. That made the difference."

In the second semi-final, the Swiss team, who won their last worlds medals 60 years ago - a bronze in 1953, tried to take the US goal by storm right from the opening face-off.

Switzerland outshot USA 18-9 in the first period making their 19-year-old goalkeeper John Gibson the most busy player at the ice of Globe arena but to no immediate avail as the teenager was stopping and deflecting all the pucks shot at him.

But he was unable to prevent an opening goal by Nino Niederreiter who sent the puck into the back of the net with an unopposed close-range shot halfway into the second period on Martin Pluss' feeding short cross.

Julian Walker scored Switzerland's second goal with 9:49 to go on a breakaway beating Gibson with a powerful close-range slap shot.

USA team head coach Joe Sacco also substituted Gibson for the sixth field player to give Switzerland's forward Reto Suri an opportunity for an empty-netter with 19sec remaining to send his squad into their first ever world championship's final.

Swiss 'keeper Reto Berra made 29 saves to record a shutout.

"It's a great win, not only for our ice hockey but for all Switzerland's sport," Swiss federation president Ueli Maurer told AFP.

"It will be our first gold medal match in major (team) sports but I very much hope it will not be the last one."

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