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Russian skill shines as Swedes fall in QF
Valeria Pavlova and Tatyana Burina also scored for Russia in the quarter-final win, and Angelina Goncharenko had a pair of assists.
Russia, which finished fourth last year, is seeking its first medal since 2013’s bronze. It will face an overwhelming challenge against the U.S., which it has never beaten. The defending champions thrashed Russia 13-1 in last year's semi-final, and prevailed 8-0 in this year's round-robin.
"I really like the games against the U.S. because it’s a really skillful and powerful team," said Sosina. "We’ll learn a lot from them. We’ll do our best despite what has happened against us in the past."
Johanna Olofsson replied for Sweden, which hasn't medaled since 2007’s bronze. It's a worrisome drought for a proud hockey nation.
"It was a tough game today, and it’s sad that we lost it," Olofsson said.
"I’m still happy with the team up to now, even if we lost, because we played a good tournament," said Swedish coach Leif Boork. "We had a lot of problems with injuries to key players during the season. We had some players playing here now who had bad injuries. Looking at that, I think we played the most consistent tournament we’ve had under my leadership."
Russian goalie Nadezhda Morozova won the goaltending duel with Sweden's Sara Grahn. Shots on goal favored Sweden 27-26.
The Russians had struggled both offensively and defensively in Group A, entering this showdown winless with a 4-21 goal differential. Sweden hadn’t lost en route to topping Group B. But here, the tables were turned.
Sosina, who led Russia in scoring last year with five points, picked a perfect time to break out. The 23-year-old Agidel Ufa sniper had been held pointless prior to the quarter-final.
"Finally, I found my game!" said Sosina. "I’d like to thank my teammates who organized good moments for me. I’m really glad we won this one."
At 3:40, Russia took a 1-0 lead on a pretty odd-man rush. Sosina dished it over to Pavlova, who lifted it past Grahn on the blocker side.
At 5:56, Sweden struck back on the power play. From down low, Olivia Carlsson fed Olofsson at the blue line, and she floated a wrister through traffic past the Russian goalie.
Sosina got a breakaway but rang it off the post. She made up for that moments later at 8:49, as she slid a wrister from the right faceoff circle through Grahn’s legs to make it 2-1. It was a goal the Swedish starter would like to have had back.
"I was really surprised this one went in," said Sosina. "I should have scored on the first chance, but not the second one."
The Russians started marching to the sin bin, taking three straight minors before the end of the period. But Sweden failed to capitalize. Iya Gavrilova got the best chance during this stretch on a shorthanded rush.
Russia went up 3-1 on another power play goal at 4:49 of the second period. Pirogova moved to the centre point and hit the mark with a long slapper that Burina tipped in.
The play slowed and got sloppier as the middle frame wore on. The Damkronorna needed something to give them life. But instead, they kept taking penalties, five in total during the period, including three to Fanny Rask.
In the third period, the Russians gutted it out as the Swedes pressed on the power play. With Swedish assistant captain Emilia Ramboldt firing bombs from the point, Yekaterina Smolina sacrificed her body while blocking a shot.
A cluster of yellow-and-blue fans behind the Swedish bench chanted "Sverige!" to boost their team as the clock ticked down. But the dream was over.
Shoving matches around Morozova's crease ensued as Swedish frustration became evident. Grahn was pulled with 3:21 left for a sixth skater, but to no avail. Sosina added an empty-netter with 13 seconds left to round out the scoring.
"Year after year, we’re able to stay in the top four," said Gavrilova. "I think it shows the progress that women’s hockey has made in Russia. It’s great for me to see as an older player."
The last time the Swedes beat Russia in Women’s Worlds play was April 13, 2012.
"It’s not over," said Boork. "We have to play the fifth-place game, and it’s important to try to finish in a good way."
Russia vs. Sweden (QF)
Olga Sosina led the way with two goals and two assists as Russia downed Sweden 4-1 to make the semi-finals against the U.S. at the 2016 Women's Worlds.