COLOGNE, Germany — Sweden won the ice hockey world championship with a 2-1 victory on penalties over two-time defending champion Canada on Sunday.
Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped three penalties and Ryan O’Reilly struck the post for Canada, as Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored shootout goals for the Swedes to win their first title since 2013.
The game ended 1-1 after overtime.
Lundqvist and Canada counterpart Calvin Pickard, who saved William Nylander’s first penalty for Sweden, were outstanding in a game in which the Canadians narrowly outshot their opponents 43-42.
“This is how close it should be when you get to the final game,” Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg said. “It’s a huge win for Swedish hockey.”
The respect between the sides was evident from the off as defenses held firm in the opening two periods.
The breakthrough came against the odds, with Backstrom penalized for slashing, when Victor Hedman scored short-handed with 20.8 seconds left in the second period.
It was a strange goal from distance as the defenseman just lifted the puck and it somehow bounced in through Pickard’s legs. Joel Lundqvist’s presence may have distracted the Canadian goaltender.
“It was a fluke goal,” Swedish forward Marcus Kruger said.
Canada had enjoyed twice as many shots in the second period.
O’Reilly equalized when he scrambled the puck in off a rebound from Mitch Marner.
It was tense, and fans were left gasping as the action swung from end to end.
Nate MacKinnon missed a good chance to clinch the win for Canada on a power play before overtime, when both goaltenders maintained their exceptional form.
“I want to congratulate Sweden. They were an exceptional team, it was a lot of fun to play them,” said Canada coach Jon Cooper.
“If we were going to lose to somebody, I’m glad those guys won.”
Earlier, Nikita Kucherov sealed a 5-3 win for Russia in the bronze medal match against Finland.
“It’s not the medal we wanted,” Russia head coach Oleg Znarok said.