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WJHC: Larsson, Rodin score two each as Sweden beats Austria

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The Canadian Press
12/27/2009 6:01:08 PM
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REGINA -- Oliver Ekman Larsson and Anton Rodin each had two goals and an assist to help Sweden beat Austria 7-3 at the world junior hockey championships Sunday.

For the second time in two days, Austria surprised its opponents and world junior hockey fans by making a close game out of what most thought would be a slaughter.

Sweden (2-0-0) entered the game with some swagger following a 10-1 pounding of the Czech Republic 24 hours earlier while the Austrians (0-2-0) also came in confident after a respectable 6-2 loss to Russia Saturday night.

"We're the outsiders here in this tournament and everybody wants us to score a goal on the big teams. That's just great for us, we feel that, we get emotion out of it and momentum," said Austria's captain Dominique Heinrich.

"We played a really good game. We were very happy with our game (Saturday) and today also. I think we're a good team this year and maybe something works out for us."

Both teams went with different goalies than the day before. Anders Nilsson, a New York Islanders draft pick, started for Sweden while Marco Wieser got the nod for Austria.

New Jersey Devils draft pick Jacob Josefson opened the scoring for Sweden before the game was a minute old with a top-shelf slapshot from the point. Oliver Ekman Larsson, a Phoenix Coyotes pick, assisted on the goal.

Sweden struck again with just over a minute to go in the first with another slapshot from the point, this time from Ekman Larsson. Josefson, with his second point of the period, and 17-year-old Adam Larsson assisted.

In between, Austria recorded just three shots but held their own against the Swedes defensively and threw several big hits.

Like they did in the first, Sweden bookended the middle frame with early and late goals. Anton Rodin, a Vancouver Canuck pick, struck for Sweden, banging in his own rebound with an assist by Jakob Silfverberg (Ottawa Senators). Rodin notched the game-winner -- his second goal of the game and third of the tournament -- on a breakaway goal set up by Larsson.

This time, however, the Austrians not only continued to play inspired hockey, they surprised the Swedes with three straight goals in the period.

Alexander Pallestrang got Austria on board with a power-play slapshot from point that hit something in front and beat Nilsson. Picking up an assist was Nikolaus Hartl.

The Swedes, perhaps rattled by the Austrians tenacity, then took a too many men penalty and, on the ensuing power play, Dominique Heinrich scored with a one timer set up by Andreas Kristler and Stefan Ulmer of the WHL's Spokane Chiefs.

Less than two minutes later Konstantin Komarek notched his second of the tournament with feeds from Heinrich and Kristler.

By the third, the 5,025 in attendance were rooting for the Austrians, who have quickly emerged as the fan favourites at Regina's Brandt Centre.

Austria managed to kill off a four minute penalty to start the third but three late Sweden goals -- Nashville Predator pick Mattias Ekholm, Andre Petersson (Ottawa Senators) and Ekman Larsson with his second of the night -- put things out of reach for the underdog squad.

"We didn't play very well. Of course, we have to be a lot better," said Rodin.

And though it was a little too close for comfort, Swedish coach Par Marts said he's knows his team is better and isn't worried.

"I think everyone did the best they could but they weren't there, the focus wasn't there. So that's what we're going to practise, although I don't know if you can practise that (focus) in this short time. But you have to learn about it," Marts said.

"We can play better, we need to play better, and it's going to happen. This was a good game for us."

Nilsson made 24 stops for the win while Wieser made 47 stops in the loss.

Josefson scores (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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