A total of 16 different countries began a quest eyeing gold in hockey’s grandest spectacle at the 82nd annual 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships. Six former Rochester Americans were among the players and coaching staffs that represented their native countries.
Team Sweden claimed the gold medal for the second straight year and third since 2013 after defeating Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout yesterday in the Royal Arena in Herning, Denmark. With their back-to-back gold medals, the Swedes become the third different country to win the top prize in consecutive years in the last 11 tournaments, joining Canada (2015, 2016) and Russia (2008, 2009).
While Switzerland earned just its fourth silver medal since 1930, the United States won bronze by way of its 4-1 win over rival Canada Sunday afternoon.
Former Amerk Johan Larsson, who returned to international stage for the first time since 2012, finished with one assist in 10 games for gold medal-winning Sweden.
Larsson earned his second international gold (Under 20-World Junior Cup) medal and third overall (Under 18-World Junior Cup) while Sweden finished the three-week tournament with a 9-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and outscored its opponents 43-13.
The Americans are returning home with its first medal in three years and fourth in the last 21 years. The United States finished second in the Group A standings, winning eight of their 10 contests, which included six straight to open the annual event.
Former Amerk Dan Bylsma, who served as assistant coach, earned his second bronze medal after finishing third in 2015.
The Czechs were searching for their first medal since 2012, but the attempt was short-lived as they came up on the wrong side of a 3-2 score in the Quarterfinals.
Forward Michal Repik, who was a member of the Amerks for all of Rochester’s three-year affiliation with the Florida Panthers from 2008-11, held a share of the team-lead with four goals in eight games.
Repik also finished with a team-high 24 shots in his third straight international appearance.
After starting with a 5-0-1-1 record, Russia, which entered earning medals in four straight events, was eliminated in the Quarterfinals with a 5-4 overtime loss to Canada.
Amerks alumni Evgenii Dadonov and Mikhail Grigorenko each appeared in eight games while tallying seven points (2+5) and six points (4+2), respectively.
Dadonov, who served as an assistant captain, finished tied for second on the team with five assists, while Grigorenko’s four goals finished also tied for second-best among Russian skaters.
After sitting out last year’s event, veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera returned to the international stage for the seventh time in his 12-year professional career.
Despite the Slovakians finishing ninth for the fourth time in five years, Sekera recorded a goal and pair of helpers in seven games. The 31 year-old blueliner, who also served as team-captain, registered 14 shots on goal, which tied for most among team defensemen.
The 2019 IIHF World Championship will held in the Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava and Steel Arena in Kosice, Slovakia from May 3, 2019 to May 19.