(WGR 550) – Team Sweden played its first game of the IIHF World Championship on Sunday, beating Austria, 3-1.
The two Buffalo Sabres players on Sweden's team, Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Asplund, got plenty of ice-time, because Sweden only has 15 players registered on their roster. They are waiting for teams that get eliminated this weekend from the Stanley Cup Playoffs to make their players available for the tournament.
It was Asplund, not Dahlin, that actually led Sweden in ice-time at 25:01. He played on the power play and penalty kill, and was one of only nine forwards dressed for the game. The Sabres winger played a total of 35 shifts.
As for Dahlin, he played 20:55 and was paired with Seattle Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson. For the most part, Dahlin was active and solid. He quarterbacks Sweden’s No. 1 power play and also kills penalties.
Dahlin had one spectacular play when Asplund got him the puck at the left point. Dahlin weaved through almost every Austrian player on the ice and had a great backhand chance in front.
Unfortunately for Dahlin, he made one glaring error that resulted in Austria's only goal.
Dahlin brought the puck up ice, but stopped along the wall inside the Austria blue line, allowing himself to get trapped. Instead of just eating the puck there, Dahlin blindly threw it into the middle and had it picked off by Dominique Heinrich. He sent away Peter Schneider, who blew a slap shot by former Ottawa Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg.
In all fairness, it was a shot that needed to be stopped.
Asplund was his usual self - responsible and solid at both ends of the ice. On a penalty kill, he got his stick in the passing lane and led a rush up ice that produced a shorthanded chance on goal. Despite playing a lot, Asplund was getting in on the forecheck quickly and was always around the Austrian net.
Sweden plays again on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
***Photo: Micheline Michaelina (@MiMiV4682)