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Winter Olympics 2014: Sweden scores late to beat Switzerland

In a goaltender's battle, Nicklas Kronwall's Swedish team edged out Switzerland on the back of a weak late goal allowed by Reto Berra.

Martin Rose

SB Nation 2014 Winter Olympic Coverage

Without Henrik Zetterberg, Sweden began the game in complete disarray. Switzerland dominated the first period to the tune of a 13-5 shot advantage, forcing Henrik Lundqvist into several grade A saves, and he managed to keep Sweden in it.

On the other side of the ice Reto Berra looked better than expected, though he was tested far less through the first period.

The Swiss dominance wouldn't last though, as Sweden woke up in the second period and turned the tables, taking the shot lead by the end of the period 22-20, but they couldn't beat Berra.

Alex Steen and Carl Hagelin were the most dangerous Swedes through two periods, whereas Martin Pluss had the best chances for Switzerland.

Typical Switzerland games against top teams like Sweden are trap games with very few chances, but this was a whole other animal. The Swiss were solid defensively throughout the game, there's no doubt of that, but there was some high end offensive creativity from them as well, as they constantly challenged the Swedes in their own zone.

Eventually though, the more talented team broke through, even though it wasn't really a talent play. Erik Karlsson lobbed a puck at Berra from way out, and Berra flubbed the easy shot and allowed a rebound to trickle across the empty net, where a crashing Daniel Alfredsson tapped it in.

Down a goal late in the third, the Swiss had no choice but to start taking risks, and oddly enough for the first time in the game, the Swedes looked composed and in control.

With under a minute remaining in the third period Reto Berra skated to the bench for the extra attacker, but the Swiss couldn't get control of the puck, with the best chance going to Sweden, which was stopped by Raphael Diaz.

It was a cruel fate for Switzerland, who may have played the best game of international hockey I've seen from them. Scoring was supposed to be easier for them this year with the addition of Niederreiter and Brunner, but that hasn't been the case with just one goal in two games.

More on the Winter Olympics:

SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA

Skier does run in T-shirt | #Lookit

Remembering the 1980 Miracle on Ice | Longform: Team USA's disaster in 1984

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu sets figure skating world record

Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis