On the last day of the championship [May 21] in the battle for gold medal Sweden totally shut down the Czech Republic by winning 4:0 and becoming the first nation ever to win gold at the Olympic games and the IIHF World Championship in the same year.
The victory ended an eight-year gold drought at the IIHF World Championships for the Swedes, which overall, was Sweden's fourth World Championship title in the last 16 years. Swedish team also retained its number one spot in the IIHF World Rankings, which it achieved during the Olympic games in Turin this February.
But let's be honestâ€¦ Not everyone was convinced that the blue-and-yellow team could go all the way after tying Switzerland in the Preliminary Round and losing to Slovakia in the Qualifying Round. But the doubters were silenced that night [May 21].
The Czechs, who were current champions, failed in their bid to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2001, but the silver represented their second consecutive IIHF World Championship medal.
Niklas Kronwall and Jesper Mattsson pretty much led the Swedish attack with a goal and assists, and Fredrik Emvall and Jorgen Jonsson also scored for their team. Swedish goalkeeper Johan Holmqvist made 15 saves in his second game of the tournament, while Milan Hnilicka, in his ninth start in row, had 22 stops for the Czech Republic. After all, IIHF President Rene Fasel presented the World Championship trophy to Swedish captain Kenny Jonsson, who kissed it and held it with undeniable joy.
Swedish team, while standing along their blue line during the tournament awards, was taking turns raising the glistening mug. They had even more to celebrate as Johan Holmqvist was named Best Goalie and Niklas Kronwall Best Defenseman. Team Canada General Manager Ken Holland came out to accept Sidney Crosby's Best Forward award.
However, while Swedes have a gold and Czechs have silver medals, Canadian team failed in their attempt to get a medal for the first time since 2002 by losing the game for the bronze medal against Finland. It was pretty rough game as both teams were visibly aggressive after failing in the semi-finals. But overall the bronze medal for Finns was its first IIHF World Championship medal since earning silver in 2001.
Finnish goalie Fredrik Norrena had 37 saves for his third game of the tournament, blanking a Canadian team that had scored at least four goals in each of its previous eight games. In his turn, Canadian goalie Alex Auld replied with 28 stops.
And now, when the 70th IIHF World Championship in Riga is now over and when we say goodbye to Riga, each team and its fans will look forward to the next year's championships in Russia. Sweden will have to defend its World Champions title, while other teams will have to prove that they deserve this title more then current champions or any other team competing in the tournament.
The next championship will be held on April 2007 in Russia.