World Championships - Medal Matches

Monday, 22nd May 2006

First up in the afternoon game is the Bronze match between Canada and Finland.  Just how much either team have left to give, is questionable after heartbreaking defeats yesterday. Canada looked totally crestfallen after losing to Sweden. Can the young guns lift themselves for one more effort? Personally I think the new kids on the block will have problems against Finland, who are unfortunately used to losing semi final games.

It was Finland that showed first in the game and took the lead after 4:06 on the powerplay. Kalio tried a wraparound goal that Auld managed to fall on, but the puck came free and Kallio reacted before Calder and pushed the puck over the goal line. There was no more scoring in the period that was dominated by 15 minor penalties. Most of those were for minor skirmishes after play had been blown dead. An over fussy referee could have let more go. Finland did seem to target Crosby every play.
End of 1st and 1-0 Finland.

Canada fell foul of the referee early in the second and Finland had a 5 on 3 at 5:20 and took a 2 goal lead. Nummelin shot from the point and it was tipped by olli Jokinen past Auld for 2-0. From then on, Finland just tied up centre ice and with some ferocious forechecking, kept a somewhat lethargic Canada out of the game. This was not the Canada that scored for fun in the early stages and they seemed clueless as to how to break down the Finnish high trap. It was 3-0 and game over at 36:16. Seabrook failed to control the puck and it fell to Hahl, right in front of goal and it was bulging the net before Auld could react. End of 2nd and 3-0 to Finland.

Finland made it 4-0 on 42:55 as Miettinen skated round Boyes at the Canadian blueline then, much to Auld’s surprise let a snorter go and it went straight through the five hole for 5-0. That was it as far as Canada were concerned and they spent the rest of the game committing the cheap, late shots that Finland were guilty of in the first period. The result was another 5 on 3 for Finland and they went nap on 53:56 as the two man advantage told. Jussin Jokinen shot high on Auld’s blocker side to finish ( no pun intended) the scoring.  End of the game and bronze to Finland with a 5-0 scoreline. 

You have to feel a bit sorry for Canada who lit up the championships with the BBC line, however inexperience told in the end. The problem for the rest of the world is that the likes of Robidas, Bergeron, Crosby etc will be around for a long time and are going to get better with experience.

Ok, that’s the minor formalities over and now for the big one.  Olympic champions v World Champions. Should be an absolute cracker.


The early minutes were a bit cat and dog style with neither team asserting themselves. The Czechs had an early powerplay which was easily defended and hadone themselves when Hubacek went in the box for interference on 5:35. Samuelsson had the first shot and one timed a beut that Hnilicka blocked. On 8 mins, Sweden thought they had scored the first goal as Karlsson shot from the slot through the five hole but the whistle had gone just before the puck went in. It was 1-0 at 14:36 and it was Niklas Kronwall who stole the puck at right point and shot. Mattsson hit the rebound into the net. 37 seconds later and the large Czech contingent in the crowd were silenced as Mattsson meandered to the blue line and slapped one towards goal. Emvall tipped it passed Hnilicka stick side. 2-0 and end of period 1. Swedes far the better team. Czech Republic have not yet got going.

Shortly after the start of the second, and on 4 on 4 play, Sweden went 3-0 up. The superb Kronwall found room after taking a pass from Samuelsson on the blue line and beat Hnilicka with a high backhand. Timed at 24:04.
The period was much the same as the first with Sweden controlling the game. Czech indiscipline cost them another goal on 37:01. On a two man advantage after Stefan and then Plekanec( after a ludicrous slash) went to the box, Nylander found himself behind the net and saw Jonsson skating into the free space in front of the goal. The pass was spot on and Jonsson smacked the puck past Hnilicka. That was it for the 2nd and Sweden were in easy street at 4-0.

The third period was all about Sweden holding on to what they had. Defensively they strung men across the blue and crowded the neutral zone, stopping any momentum the Czechs got going. Holmqvist was having an easy time but had to be alert with 9 mins left and gloved a high wrister from Hubacek. Sweden just closed out the game from that point and a disappointing Czech side had no answer. End of the game 4-0 Sweden.

A fantastic victory for the Tre Krone . Czech Republic did not play that badly, they were just not allowed to play their own game.

A great tournament and some brilliant hockey, I was lucky enough to see about 30 of the 56 games on TV. Niklas Kronwall deservedly got Best Defenseman and also picked up the tournament MVP. Well deserved as the guy was different class. Best goalie was Johan Holmqvist of Sweden and obviously besr forward went to wonderkid  Sidney Crosby.

Thanks for reading, I have thoroughly enjoyed reporting on the champs.
Now lets get behind Phoenix and look forward to the new season in our new rink!