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Post  Mad Clint on 2009-05-10, 16:33


After a two-year absence from the podium, Sweden scored four powerplay goals and got a stellar performance by goalie Stefan Liv to shut down the U.S. 4-2 to secure the bronze medal at the World Hockey Championship.
Liv, playing in place of Jonas Gustavsson who left the tournament to go be with his ailing mother, made 37 saves as the Swedes topped the U.S. in Bern, Switzerland.
After a scoreless first period for both squads, Team USA's Jack Johnson blasted a bullet past Swedish netminder Stefan Live from the top of the zone on the powerplay to open the scoring at 5:14 of the second period.
But then Sweden's Loui Eriksson fired back. He tied it up on the powerplay at 13:24, absorbing a crisp pass from Tony Martensson and firing it in from the slot past U.S. goalie Robert Esche. Eriksson then fired another just two and a half minutes later that bounced off Martensson and Mattias Weindhandl and right into the U.S. net -- again on the powerplay. Martensson got credit for the goal and Sweden took that 2-1 lead into the dressing room after the second stanza.
But Joe Pavelski evened it for the U.S. just 2:15 inside the third period on a great individual effort. He skated end to end, weaving through Swedish defenders, and put it up over Liv's left shoulder to make it 2-2.
Sweden re-established the lead at the nine-minute mark on another powerplay, when Carl Gunnarsson fired a slapshot past Esche from the point.
The U.S. tried to make up the goal in the final seconds, but untimely penalties to Ryan Suter and Dustin Brown put the Americans back on the penalty-kill instead of garnering the extra skater for which they had hoped.
In their absence, Sweden's Johnny Oduya scored an empty-netter to seal the game.

Sweden last won gold at the 2006 World Championship, following up its gold-medal showing at the 2006 Olympics. The Swedes lost to Finland in last year's bronze medal game.
Sweden now moves past Finland as the third-ranked team in the IIHF world rankings.

U.S., with thirteen newcomers to the worlds, was trying to win a medal for the first time since 2004, when they beat Slovakia in a shootout for bronze.
Mad Clint
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