Sweden is beginning to build some serious world championship momentum.
The Tre Kronor showed today it plans to be a major threat for top honours at the 2011 IIHF worlds in Slovakia, impressively dumping the United States 6-2 at the Steel Arena in Kosice. It was the second straight win for the Swedes since a shocking 5-4 shootout loss at the hands of Norway in its tournament opener last Saturday.
Sweden, which counts Ottawa Senators prospect Jakob Silfverberg
among its forward ranks, used a three-goal second period to put away the Americans, who had notched wins in their first two matches to ensure advancement to the qualification round. Patrik Berglund scored a pair of goals to lead the Swedes past the U.S., whose roster includes Senators forward Ryan Shannon.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic closed out a perfect preliminary round by edging Finland 2-1 at the Orange Arena in Bratislava to wrap up top spot in Group D. Milan Michalek
of the Senators opened the scoring for the Czechs with his third goal of the tournament. The defending champs were the only team to record nine points (three regulation wins) in the opening round.
The top three teams in each of four groups advance to the qualification round, where they're redrawn into two pools of six. Points earned against teams advancing to the second phase are carried forward to the next round.
The Czechs and Germany head up Group E with six points each, followed by Finland (3), Russia (3), host Slovakia (0) and Denmark (0). Canada carries five points forward to top Group F, followed by Sweden (4), Switzerland (3), the U.S. (3), Norway (2) and France (1).
All five Senators players taking part in the world tournament remain in action in the qualification round. That group includes Michalek, Shannon, Silfverberg, Jason Spezza
(Canada) and Stephane da Costa (France).
Qualification round play begins Thursday with Russia facing Denmark in Bratislava and the Swiss tangling with Norway in Kosice. Canada and the U.S. square off Friday in Kosice (10:15 a.m., TSN).