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Sweden, Switzerland square off for bronze

Monday, 01.04.2010 / 7:54 PM / 2010 World Junior Championship

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"I think nobody thought we would come to the semifinals.  Tomorrow we have no pressure, we can play for fun. But it's for a medal. The last medal for Switzerland was '98, so it's a long time ago. Maybe tomorrow we'll have the next one." -- Nino Niederreiter

SASKATOON, Sask. -- Bronze can have widely varying value as a precious metal depending on your situation.
 
For Sweden, it's not the gold they played for the last two years at the World Junior Championship. For Switzerland, it would be about the richest prize ever won by the nation's junior hockey program.
 
Those teams will meet Tuesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) for third place here at the Credit Union Centre, and the teams are approaching the game from very different perspectives.
 
For Sweden, it's a real letdown after taking home silver medals the last two years. But coach Per Marts said Monday's practice was about focusing on the value of taking home any kind of medal rather than nothing.
 
"No one on this team has a bronze medal so I think everyone wants one," said Marts.
 
Sweden goalie Jacob Markstrom said that while he was "a little sad and a little pissed off," after Sunday's semifinal loss to the U.S., his focus is on winning his final junior game.
 
"It's a new day, life goes on," he told NHL.com. "You're playing for the bronze medal against Switzerland. It's my last junior game, so absolutely I'd love to (win bronze). You want to take something home to Sweden."
 
While Sweden tries to get over its disappointment, Switzerland feels no pressure heading into only its third chance ever to win a medal -- the Swiss lost the bronze-medal game in 2002 and won it in 1998 for its only WJC medal.
 
"I think nobody thought we would come to the semifinals," said Nino Niederreiter, Switzerland's leader with 5 goals and 9 points. "Tomorrow we have no pressure, we can play for fun. But it's for a medal. The last medal for Switzerland was '98, so it's a long time ago. Maybe tomorrow we'll have the next one."
 
Sweden beat Switzerland 5-1 in a pre-tournament exhibition game, so Switzerland coach Jakob Kolliker knows what's ahead of his team.
 
"We know they are well-organized, they have very good speed, good technique," he told NHL.com. "They come really hard. They have good players. We have to work hard against them to find a way to their goal. They also have good goalie. It will be hard, but we'll try hard."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.

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