Sweden dominates Hungary
by Lucas AYKROYD|18 MAY 2023
Forward Dennis Everberg (#18, left) scores a first-period goal for Sweden in a 7-1 rout of Hungary at the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Tampere, Finland.
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Andrea Cardin
Sweden scored three first-period goals and never looked back in a 7-1 trouncing of Hungary in Tampere on Thursday. The Swedes are unbeaten through four games at Nokia Arena with 11 points as they chase the U.S. for the Group A lead.

Goalie Jesper Wallstedt, a Swedish Worlds rookie, had a light workload in his second win. Tre Kronor outshot Hungary 51-9. Defensively, Tre Kronor achieved the remarkable feat of allowing no shots in the last two periods.

"It’s quite special, I would imagine, in the stats," said Sweden's Henrik Tommernes, who also racked up four assists. "It shows that it doesn’t matter what team we’re playing. We still value our defensive game and that’s been our strength in the first three games for the other wins."

Jacob de la Rose shone with two goals for Sweden, and Lucas Raymond added a single and two assists. Defenceman Timothy Liljegren, newly added from the Toronto Maple Leafs, had two assists.

Roland Kiss replied for Hungary. Coach Kevin Constantine’s troops got a reality check after the euphoria of upsetting France 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday. They're up against host Finland on Friday.

"For sure it’s not our best game so far," said Istvan Bartalis, who had the winner against France. "That’s hard. We gave up goals too easy, too fast. I think we collapsed a little bit. As a team, we shrunk a little bit. But there’s a big difference between these countries. It is what it is. We have to try to analyze it or maybe just forget it, even. There’s another game tomorrow and we need to get energized for that."

Ultimately, Sweden’s clinical skill and opportunism outweighed their opponents' emotion and hard work. This is just Hungary’s third top-level World Championship in the post-World War II era (2009, 2016).

"We got to really work on our offensive game today, and that will carry into the games in the future," said Alexander Nylander. "So now we're aiming to win the group."

Coach Sam Hallam’s team didn't waste any time. At 1:13, Oscar Lindberg blasted a slap slot from left wing past Hungarian netminder Dominik Horvath. It was the SC Bern forward’s team-leading third goal of these Worlds.

At 5:13, Carl Grundstrom sent a lovely saucer pass in the neutral zone to a streaking de la Rose, who went bar down for a two-goal lead.

"Nice pass by Carl there," said de la Rose. "I saw the goalie cheating a little bit on the first post."

The Hungarians didn’t immediately fold their tent. Kiss snapped a shot past Wallstedt with traffic in front to cut the deficit to 2-1 at 7:36, firing up the air-punching Magyar fan section. But the joy wouldn't last.

With 2:10 left in the opening stanza, Liljegren looped around Horvath’s net and dished a backhanded cross-crease pass to Everberg, who made no mistake.

In the second period, Pettersson put Sweden up 4-1 at 4:17 with a slick snipe on a 5-on-3 man advantage.

Constantine's men showed grit aplenty. As the Swedes hemmed Hungary in, forward Kristian Nagy blocked a Liljegren shot and stayed out there despite hobbling in pain. But there was no subduing the Tre Kronor attack.

At 17:37 Jonatan Berggren fired a short-side laser off the rush to make it 5-1. Less than a minute later, de la Rose finished off a passing play off a faceoff in the Hungarian end.

The third period saw Raymond making it 7-1 at 8:48 off a slick set-up from Leo Carlsson, the 18-year-old who became the youngest player ever to score for Sweden in a 5-0 win over Austria.

Of next facing a French team that battled in a 5-3 loss to the Finns, de la Rose said: "They showed last night they're a good team. So we've got to be humble, come in and play our game, and keep improving."

It’s been 88 years since the lone previous meeting between these nations. Sweden blanked Hungary 3-0 on 21 January, 1935 in Davos, Switzerland.
Hungary vs Sweden - 2023 IIHF WM