Sweden roars through bandy opening round.
The Swedish bandy team won four of its five preliminary matches at the 2012 Bandy World Championships in Kazakhstan.
The Swedish bandy team made mincemeat of its competition in the opening round of the 2012 Bandy World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, winning its first four games by a combined score of 47-1 before dropping a 6-2 decision to reigning world champs Russia.
The tournament runs through Feb. 5. Sweden, with its four wins in Group A, had already qualified for the semifinals when it met Russia at the Medeu outdoor rink. Sergey Lomanov was a one-man wrecking machine for the Russians, scoring three times while Basil Granovsky scored twice. Sweden played a tight first half, as Stefan Eriksson and Ted Bergstrom offset goals from Granovsky and Lomanov. However, Lomanov scored his second of the game just seconds before the first half ended, giving the Russians a 3-2 lead. Lomanov scored once more in the second half as the Russians simply outplayed the Swedes in the final 45 minutes.
Easy road to the semifinals
Despite the loss, Sweden easily reached the semifinals after knocking off Norway, Kazakhstan, the United States and Finland in its first four games. The top four teams in the group play in the semifinals. Russia is to face Finland in a rematch of last year’s gold medal game while Sweden plays the host country.
Sweden opened the tournament with a 12-0 drubbing of 2011 silver medalist Finland. The Blue and Yellow scored six goals in each half, with Jonas Edling netting three of them. Against Norway on Jan. 30, Sweden got a five-goal performance from Christer Mickelsson as the Blue and Yellow crushed their Scandinavian neighbors 11-0. The Swedes faced Kazakhstan Jan. 31 and despite giving up their first goal, easily skated to a 9-1 win. Eriksson netted three goals in the game while Mickelsson and Daniel Andersson had two each. Andersson was the star Feb. 1 as Sweden overwhelmed the U.S. 15-0. The Sandviken star had five goals in the game.
Bandy - "Football of the winter"
Bandy, a winter-only sport, is something of a mix between hockey and soccer. The playing surface is roughly the same size as a football pitch. Matches last 90 minutes, with two 45-minute halves. The rules of bandy somewhat resemble those in soccer, although many also resemble those of hockey. Each team has 11 players, including a goalkeeper.
Rather than a puck, however, players must move a ball up and down the ice, using small sticks that somewhat resemble hockey sticks. Because of the size of the playing field, bandy is also one of the few winter sports that teams still play outside.
A variation of the sport, with roots in both the U.S. and Europe is "Innebandy" - or floorball in North America: From Whiffle Ball to Olympic sport