Swedes bag bronze

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

First, he sang the praises of his Swedish charges.

Then, Team Sweden coach Peter Elander questioned the setup for the 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship once again.

Maria Rooth scored the only goal as the Swedes sunk Team Finland 1-0 in the bronze medal match before an announced crowd of 8,555 at the MTS Centre yesterday.

"I'm really proud of the team," Elander said. "We really came together as a group ... But this was opposite to the (1994) Halifax schedule where we played Canada and the U.S. back-to-back and had no legs in the bronze medal game. You could see the same pattern here. Finland didn't have any legs in the end so there has to be some thinking over the schedule. Otherwise, it's an unfair competition."

After the Finns upset Sweden 1-0 in overtime earlier in the week, they were forced to play both the USA and Canada in the medal round, losing to Canada late Monday night. Back in '94, the Swedes were in the same situation, losing the bronze to Finland.

The Swedes had to hold on after starting netminder Kim Martin suffered a knee injury while they were killing off a penalty. She was carried off the ice on a stretcher and replaced by Sara Grahn with 6:30 left

"It's probably torn but they don't know yet because it hurts too much to look at it so, we'll see," said Martin, who was on crutches after the match. "(But) we never gave up. It's amazing how we can fight. It was such a close game and everyone was tired."

Although the Swedes took the silver medal at last year's Olympics, they were still pleased with the bronze.

"We have new players coming in so, this is what we can ask for right now," said Rooth. "We want something brighter in the future but right now, this is good for us.

"And it was such a relief (to score). I played a really bad game. Our team worked really hard throughout the whole game and we knew if that we just kept continuing, we would have more legs in the end because they had tougher games."

Bronze was all they could get after the Finns had upset them.

"If we don't take a medal, there would be discussions about whether you are doing the right thing," said Elander, who prefers a 10-team tourney. "Every time you take a medal, they think you are on the right path."

Finnish goalie Noora Raty was superb once again.

"It's very disappointing because we were working hard and were focused," said Raty. "Our big problem's scoring. Our shooters were not good so, we'll have to get better shooters."

Finland coach Hannu Saintula echoed those sentiments.

"I'm not so sad," he said. "We will focus all our energy now into the future because the last four games we didn't score any goals in normal time. We have to understand that we can't win any games if we can't score any goals."

Elander, meanwhile, relished the surroundings here.

"Everything organized in Canada is so well done," he said. "I have nothing but great things to say about the town of Winnipeg, the crowds, the media and everything. The girls love to be here."


Photos