Swedes end medal drought

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

While the Canadians breezed past the U.S. in their semifinal, the Swedes had to sweat out a 2-1, overtime victory over the Russians to reach the gold-medal game.

You could tell how excited they were by listening to them singing in their dressing room after the game.

"It's the first time in 10 years Sweden is in the final, and if we win gold it's the first time since 1981," Mikael Backlund, who scored the winner 6:18 into OT, said. "It would be great for Sweden."

Robin Figren sent the game into extra time by scoring with 8:10 to go, and guesses people in his country are finally getting excited about this tournament.

"Now people back home are probably raising their asses off the couch," Figren said.

For the Russians, it's the first time in four years they've failed to reach the final.

REVENGE BEST SERVED SWEDISH? Members of Team Canada are only too happy to have another crack at the Swedes, who won their preliminary round game, 4-3.

"Revenge is sweet, especially in this situation," forward Brad Marchand said, suggesting the loss woke the Canadians up. "We blew it in the third period. That really hurt. Winning was coming too easy for us. We got a little ahead of ourselves. That really brought us back down to earth."

SWEDES TO WATCH: Patrik Berglund -- It is tough to get the puck from this 6-foot-3, 187-pound centre who can skate and handle the puck with the best of them.

Mikael Backlund -- A clutch performer for the Swedes, the first-round pick of the Calgary Flames scored the overtime winner against Russia in the semifinal and set up the winning goal in a preliminary game against Canada.

AROUND THE WJHC: Craig Hartsburg has come down with a case of the flu, causing someone to joke the Canadian head coach should be kept away from his players ... How nasty was the trash talk early in the Canada-U.S. game? The referee warned both teams to cut it out, or he was going to start handing out 10-minute misconducts.


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