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2019 World Championship Preview: Sweden

The Damkronorna have a lot to prove in Finland

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 5 - Sweden v Switzerland Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Schedule

Sweden is in Group B with Japan, France, Germany, and Czech Republic.

  • April 4, 5:30 a.m. ET | Sweden vs Germany
  • April 6, 5:30 a.m. ET | Sweden vs Czech Republic
  • April 7, 9:00 a.m. ET | Sweden vs France
  • April 9, 5:30 a.m. ET | Sweden vs Japan

Roster

  • Forwards: Sabina Küller, Lisa Johansson, Pernilla Winberg, Sara Hjalmarsson, Fanny Rask, Isabell Palm, Lina Ljungblom, Erika Grahm, Melinda Olsson, Hanna Olsson, Emma Nordin, Sofie Lundin
  • Defenders: Mina Waxin, Sofia Engström, Johanna Fällman, Josefin Holmgren, Johanna Olofsson, Jessica Adolfsson, Maja Nylén-Persson
  • Goaltenders: Sara Grahn, Julia Åberg, Lovisa Selander
  • Head Coach: Ylva Martinsen

Players to Watch

Lovisa Selander

At the risk of repeating ourselves, The Ice Garden called the RPI graduate the best goalie you’ve never heard of earlier in the season and its true. Selander broke the NCAA record for career saves this season. The graduating senior has a bright future ahead of her as she was a Boston Pride draftee but could honestly end up in any league.

Hanna Olsson

Olsson is one of the most intriguing pro women’s hockey players in the world right now. When her plans to play at the University of North Dakota were spoiled, the speedy young forward chose to stay in the SDHL with Djurgårdens IF. However, she chose to break her contract in January to play for Skärgårdens SK, a D3 men’s club, when she felt like DIF wasn’t helping her develop as a player.

What happens with Olsson next season is very much a mystery, but whoever she plays for is going to get an exceptional talent in their lineup.

Olsson averaged 4.73 shots per game in the 26 games she played with Djurgårdens IF. Despite leaving the team with 10 games left in the regular season, she still managed to finish third on the team in scoring with 15 goals and 13 assists. Her production was down this year, but those are still big numbers from a player who started the season as a teenager.

It’s worth noting that Ylva Martinsen stood behind Olsson when she made her decision to break her contract. As one can imagine, that meant the world to the young forward, “I’m incredibly grateful,” Olsson told SVT in a February interview. “It means a lot to me to have that support. I will do everything to show that she made the right decision.”

In Finland, Olsson will be playing for the coach that stood beside her difficult decision to leave DIF. She’ll also be looking to show the world just how serious she is about taking her game to the next level.

Last Time Around

Ah. Yes. Well.

The Damkronorna arrived at the 2017 World Championships with their worst record since 2002, having won only four games the entire season. They were despondent and defeated, and it showed on the ice. They were shut out in the semifinal by archrival Finland and finished at a dismal 6th place.

Storylines

Staying Realistic

The key for Damkronorna observers is managing expectations. Ylva Martinsen has had less than a full season to start cleaning up Leif Boork’s and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s mess: she’s a good coach with a talented roster who’s done an exceptional job with the resources allotted to her, but the power structures and personnel that allowed Boork to run the squad into the ground remain at the Federation. It’s going to take longer than a year to undo the damage.

Look for a good showing from a re-invigorated and re-motivated Damkronorna, but understand medals are unlikely.

Data courtesy of sdhl.se and hockeyeastonline.com