Canada beat Sweden to set up Russia repeat

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Derek Roy of Canada celebrates after scoring for Canada in the first period against SwedenImage Caption:

Derek Roy of Canada celebrates after scoring for Canada in the first period against Sweden (Keystone)

Canada and Russia will add another chapter to their longstanding hockey rivalry after Canada dispatched Sweden in the semifinal of the Ice Hockey World Championship.

Derek Roy scored two goals in Canada's 3-1 win over fourth-ranked Sweden on Friday evening in Switzerland hours after Russia overcame the United States by a 3-2 margin.

The world's number one and number two teams will play each other on Sunday evening in Bern, the Swiss capital. It is an opportunity for Canada to make up for last year's loss to Russia in Quebec City.

It will also be the sixth time in the last seven years that Canada have reached the final.

"Some of the boys who have won before talked about what it takes th win this tournament," said Shawn Horcoff. "So we talked about playing in the quarters and semis and finals, and we talked about what they were able to do in order to get better and better."

Roy opened the scoring for Canada at 6:51 in the evening match-up after taking a pass from Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St Louis.

St Louis, negotiating some opposition behind the Swedish net, fed the puck to Roy, who tipped in past goalie Jonas Gustavsson's glove side.

"We were just trying to make the right play at the right time," St Louis said. "Those plays just happen. It's not like you plan it or it's a set play. He happened to be there and both guys came on me, and I just tried to slide it to him."

More to come

The number-two Canadians had to wait almost 25 minutes before adding to their lead.

With Sweden looking to clear, Ottawa Senator Mike Fisher stripped the puck in the Swedish zone and drove toward Gustavsson before handing it off to Shawn Horcoff, who got Canada's second.

Anton Stralman of Sweden was called for tripping 30 second later. It was a penalty put Sweden even deeper in the hole.

With the announcer at the PostFinance Arena midway through broadcasting the details of the penalty, Canada's Dany Heatley passed to Roy, who easily flipped the puck past Gustavsson.

Loui Eriksson brought Sweden closer after picking up his own rebound to beat Canadian goalie Dwayne Roloson at 46:14 but Sweden were unable to build much more momentum against their hard-hitting opponents.

Canada played a patient defence throughout the game, never really giving Sweden a chance to seriously challenge 38-year-old Roloson.

Canada ended the game with 32 shots on goal versus 23 for Sweden.

Close game for Russia

Earlier in the afternoon, Russia and the US opened their semifinal match with a docile opening period.

There were few breaks and neither side posed a serious challenge to the other, despite Russia beginning to apply pressure on US goalie Robert Esche.

The second period began looking as though there would be more of the same until top-ranked Russia discovered the consequences of falling asleep on the job.

With Russia in their own end and looking to clear, US captain Dustin Brown snuck in on the left side and stripped the puck from Russia. A couple of seconds and some fancy stick work later, he beat Ilya Bryzgalov, flicking the puck past the Russian goalie's glove side.

The surprise goal seemed to inject some energy into the Russian side.

Mid-way through the second period, Sergei Zinoviev won a face-off in the US end and made a small pass to Atlanta Thrashers captain Kovalchuk, who fired a wrist shot past Esche's blocker side to tie the game.

Kovalchuk dangerous again

A few minutes later, Kovalchuk demonstrated to the Americans just how dangerous he was as he sped down the left side, crossed over and fired. Alexander Frolov tipped the puck in, putting Russia up 2-1.

Kyle Okposo even the game for the US at 38:03 with a short wrist shot on Brygalov's glove side.

Each team held the other scoreless through most of the third period and it appeared likely that the match would head into overtime until TJ Oshie of the US was called for hooking at 56:31.

Gorovikov beat Esche at 58:13 to seal the game for Russia.

Justin Häne at the PostFinance Arena in Bern, swissinfo.ch

 
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