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Sweden tops Finland to earn spot in World U-18 final

Friday, 04.20.2012 / 1:04 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Sweden tops Finland to earn spot in World U-18 final
A four-goal third period propelled Sweden into the gold-medal game for the third-straight year at the World Under-18 Championship.

Sweden scored four unanswered goals in the third period Friday en route to a 7-3 win against Finland in the semifinals of the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in the Czech Republic.

In a game played at Kajot Arena in Brno, Jesper Pettersson's goal 5:46 into the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled Sweden into the gold-medal game for the third straight year.

Taking a pass at the Finland blue line, the defenseman's shot went through traffic and into the net. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound defenseman plays for Linkoping in Sweden's junior league and is No. 31 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft.

Sebastian Collberg -- No. 3 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters -- had two goals and an assist, and Gustav Possler had a goal and three assists.

"We just tried to come out hard, play our game and also to get pucks in deep and forecheck them," Sweden captain Filip Forsberg, who had a goal and an assist, told the IIHF website. "And I think we started good and maybe got lucky with a few penalties, but after that we were able to take the game over offensively and get some pucks in the net."

After Pettersson's goal put Sweden ahead, it was Forsberg -- Central Scouting's top-rated European skater -- who scored an insurance goal with 7:27 left on a five-on-three power play.

In the battle between two of the highest-rated European goalies for this year's draft, Sweden's Oscar Dansk stopped 41 of 44 shots, while Finland's Joonas Korpisalo allowed five goals on 37 shots before being removed from the game with 5:03 left in the third period.

Dansk is No. 2 on Central Scouting's list, one spot ahead of Korpisalo.

Artturi Lehkonen had a pair of goals for Finland, giving him a tournament-best six in six games. He opened the scoring with a power-play goal 3:18 into the game, but Sweden tied it on Jacob de la Rose's goal late in the first.

Sweden went up 3-1 on goals by Possler and Erik Karlsson in the first 6:52 of the second period, but goals by Lehkonen and Rasmus Ristolainen made it a tied game after 40 minutes.

Sweden now awaits the winner of Friday's other semifinal, between the three-time defending champion U.S. and Canada, in the gold-medal game Sunday. Finland will play that game's loser in the bronze-medal game Sunday.

The U.S. has beaten Sweden two straight years in the gold-medal game.

Also Friday, Dominik Simon had two goals and three assists and Jakub Vrana had two goals and two assists as the Czech Republic beat Latvia 7-4 in a relegation-pool game played at Zimny Stadion in Znojmo.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

2012 NHL Draft