International Ice Hockey Federation

Borgqvist buries Germany

Borgqvist buries Germany

It’s Finland-Switzerland, Russia-Sweden in QF

Published 01.04.2015 00:17 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Borgqvist buries Germany
MALMO, SWEDEN - MARCH 31: Sweden's Anna Borgqvist #18 celebrates after scoring Team Sweden's second goal of the game against Team Germany during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Sweden’s 4-0 win over Germany earned the hosts a match-up with Russia in Wednesday’s quarter-finals. The Finns will face Switzerland in the other quarter-final.

Japan will play Germany in a best-of-three relegation series, also starting on Wednesday.

This was a must-have for coach Leif Boork’s crew. At the last Women’s Worlds in Ottawa, the Swedes wound up having to beat the Czechs twice in relegation play in order to finish seventh. Repeating that scenario on home ice would have been an indignity.

"Of course I’m relieved," said Boork. "I’m happy for the players that we could go to the quarter-finals in our own home rink. But still, we have to improve, and we have to be better than we are now. We’re on our way to try to challenge those best four teams."

Sweden is now one step closer to capturing its first medal since 2007’s bronze.

Anna Borgqvist shone with a hat trick and an assist for the Swedes. Erika Grahm added a goal and an assist, and Emma Nordin had two helpers.

"I think I did a really good game, and so did the whole team," Borgqvist said.

Swedish starting goalie Sara Grahn got her fourth career shutout at the Women's Worlds. The Swedes outshot Germany 45-15.

"I had an easy game back there, so it was nice for me," said Grahn.

The game couldn’t have started off better for Sweden -- or worse for Germany. It took just 51 seconds for the Damkronorna to turn on the red light.

Nordin came down left wing and her centering pass tipped off the stick of backchecking forward Monica Bittner, going straight to Borgqvist. She beat German netminder Jennifer Harss with a backhand deke.

"We wanted to not allow a goal in the first period, but it happened on the very first shift," said German captain Julia Zorn. "That’s kind of a mental thing, then."

The Germans came out strongly in the second period, and Grahn had to be sharp to foil Bittner on an attempt from point-blank range. There was tension in the Malmo Isstadion as the halfway mark slid past and it remained a one-goal game.

Then the Swedes got a golden opportunity to extend their lead with a two-man advantage for a full two minutes, and they took advantage of it at 12:50. Borgqvist grabbed the rebound off Lina Backlin’s heavy drive from above the hash marks, and, as with her first goal, tucked a backhander home. The crowd erupted.

With 44 seconds left in the middle frame, Borgqvist completed her hat trick, scooping in the rebound from Erika Grahm’s close-in chance.

"She's really good," Grahn said of Borgqvist. "It's amazing what she did today."

Finally the blue-and-yellow supporters could relax a bit. This was, after all, a German opponent that had only scored two goals in total in its two previous games.

In the third period, Sweden's Pernilla Winberg, who tied for the scoring lead at the 2014 Olympics with Finland's Michelle Karvinen, was shaken up in a collision with Tanja Eisenschmid. The German rearguard got a minor for boarding, and while the Swedes didn't capitalize on the power play, it helped to kill the clock and seal the deal.

Grahm added an insurance marker to make it 4-0 with 4:50 remaining, tying her for the tournament lead in goals with the USA's Hilary Knight (five).

Asked about the success of the line that generated all four Swedish goals, Boork said: "It’s a good balanced unit. Emma Nordin and Erika Grahm are good skaters, with good flow, and Anna Borgqvist is a very tough kind of grinder, sticking in her nose when it’s hot in those situations."

What about facing the Russians in the quarter-finals? Boork stated: "It’s a different type of game tomorrow than this: more individual, more players with technique. They take bigger chances. They have some really good offensive skills. We have to play well on defence, and the goalie has to play well. And then we’ll see how our journey in the game goes."

Germany’s lone victory over Sweden at the Women’s Worlds in six meetings all-time was a 6-2 decision on April 6, 2001 in Minneapolis, USA. However, it took overtime for the Swedes to win the last two meetings in 2012 and 2013.

Of facing the Japanese again in relegation play, Zorn said: "They’re playing tactically. They have a really good system. Their power play is really good. They have different options. The best thing would be to stay away from the penalty box. Then we just need to work really hard. They’re a good skating team, and we need to be patient."


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