Sweden’s national hockey teams enjoyed an unprecedented weekend of success Feb. 8-12, with five of six “Tre Kronor” teams winning international tournaments.
Although “Tre Kronor” is technically the name of the full men’s team, each of Sweden’s national teams not only has a crown in its name but now crowns on the mantle. The men’s, women’s, U-19, U-18 and U-17 national teams all took home the gold in various tournaments. Only the U-16 team suffered a defeat for the tournament win when it lost the deciding game of its home event in Gärdehov 4-3 to Russia.

Oddset games
In Stockholm, the team most associated with the name “Tre Kronor,” the men’s national team, won the third round of the European Hockey Tour with a comeback performance in the Oddset Games at the Globe Arena in Stockholm.
The round-robin, four-stage event features Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic. For the Oddset Games, Sweden rolled out a team of Elitserien players—players that usually watch the national team when Sweden’s NHL players are available.
The Swedish pros got off to a tough start Feb. 9 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Czechs. Jan Kolar tied the game with nine minutes left in regulation time for the visitors, and 40-year-old former NHL star Petr Nedved scored the only goal after four pairs of penalty shots.
Sweden bounced back after the loss. The Tre Kronor defeated Russia 4-1 Feb. 11 on goals from Mattias Ekholm, Nicklas Danielsson, Jakob Silfverberg and Tony Mårtensson, and a stellar performance by goalkeeper Viktor Fasth. Silfverberg, who plays for the Brynas Tigers, is the No. 3 scorer in the Elitserien with 42 points. Fasth, who tends goal for AIK, is the No. 3-ranked goaltender in the Elitserien this season with a 93-percent save percentage.
The Czechs, meanwhile, lost to the Finns the same day, putting the Tre Kronor in position to win the tournament, provided Sweden beat its arch rivals, Finland. The two met Feb. 12.
After a scoreless first period, Severstal Cherepovets defenseman Staffan Kronwall broke the deadlock with a power-play goal with 4:01 left in the second period. Atlant Moscow Oblast center Jonas Andersson made it 2-0 early in the last period. Kronwall and Andersson both play in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. Janne Pesonen cut the lead with a short-handed goal with 10 minutes to play, but Frolunda Chiefs forward Joel Lundqvist sealed Sweden’s win in the dying minutes when he beat Finnish netminder Joni Ortio to the stick side for a 3-1 lead.
Sweden’s triumph came before 9,263 fans at the Globe Arena and was the second tournament win in this year’s European Hockey Tour. The Swedes won the event in Moscow in December while Russia won in Helsinki in November. Sweden now leads the EHT standings with 16 points in 12 games, one more than Russia.

Tre Kronor Under-19
One month after Sweden won its first Junior Hockey (Under-20) gold in 31 years by taking the gold at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, five European teams assembled in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, to prepare for next year’s World Juniors in Ufa, Russia.
Swedish coach Roger Rönnberg certainly should be confident of the ability of his new team as it went undefeated in the tournament. The “Junior Kronor” faced their toughest challenge in the final against Finland. Despite a 50-19 shot advantage over the first two periods, Sweden and Finland were even at 2-2.
The Finns broke the deadlock, scoring twice in the opening minutes of the third period to grab a 4-2 lead. Sweden finally woke up, tying the game with 7:35 left in regulation time. Viktor Arvidsson scored his second goal of the game at 3:14 of the extra period to clinch the tournament win.
The Junior Kronor displayed depth during the tournament with five players racking up at least five points. Arvidsson led the team with four goals and seven points while Mikael Vikstrand was the only defenseman with five points along with Finn Roni Viirlas.

Seventeen nations took to the ice in Helsinki in the final tune up for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Under-18 World Championship in the Czech Republic, with Sweden winning the prime event.
The “Junior Kronor” won all their games at the five-nation tournament, including a 4-2 victory against the U.S. U-18 team of the National Team Development Program, the same team that has won the gold in the last three U-18 Worlds.
The Americans outshot the Swedes 33-28, but Filip Forsberg and Christian Djoos found the net with two power-play goals in the first period, and Ludwig Byström scored the game-winning goal in the 4-2 win at 2:18 of the third. The Americans ended up in third place after also losing to Finland, 4-0.
The virtual final took place Feb. 12 between the host Finns and Sweden. Teuvo Teräväinen made the home crowd cheer when he opened the scoring at 12:24, but Filip Sandberg tied it up five minutes later and Ludvig Nilsson and Sebastian Collberg added two more Swedish goals in the middle stanza. Juuso Ikonen cut into the lead, but Sweden held on for a 3-2 win.

Women's national team
The Damkronor won its home tournament in Oskarshamn with a clean record after defeating Russia (3-1), Germany (6-0) and blanking Finland 5-0 in the deciding game. Veteran forwards Elin Holmlöv and Erika Holst scored three goals each in the tournament for seven and five points respectively while Kim Martin and Sara Grahn allowed only one goal while combining for 65 saves.
Russia’s Anna Prugova had a 93.86 save percentage but couldn’t prevent 3-1 defeats against both Sweden and Finland. Finland ended up second while Russia had to settle for third place before winless Germany.
The tournament was a tune up for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vermont.
by Chipp Reid