‘Yotes Notes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads Sweden to World Championship
Sweden won its second straight gold medal at the IIHF World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sunday. Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a big hand in the title.
Ekman-Larsson logged 31:11 of ice time, he had the primary assist on Mika Zibanejad’s game-tying goal with 5:07 left in the second period, and he scored one of Sweden’s two shootout goals during a 3-2 shootout win over Switzerland in the gold-medal game.
“We played a really good tournament and everybody has been working so hard,” Ekman-Larsson said in a post-game interview. “It’s so fun that everybody gets to experience this feeling.”
Oliver Ekman-Larsson discusses being a back-to-back champion and going undefeated with @trekronorse at the 2018 #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/IW3Lws5zsO
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 20, 2018
Sweden won its 11th World Championship gold medal, the fourth most of any nation behind the Soviet Union/Russia (27), Canada (26) and Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic (12). Ekman-Larsson also won gold with the Swedes last year in Cologne, Germany.
Sweden has won three of the past six world championships and has medaled more times (47) than any nation but Canada (49).
Ekman-Larsson had two goals and five assists in 10 games at this year’s tournament. He led Sweden in average ice time per game (24:34) and was one of four Swedes named to the tournament’s All-Star team along with goalie Anders Nilsson, defenseman Adam Larsson and forward Rickard Rakell. American forward Patrick Kane and Finnish forward Sebastian Aho were the other All-Stars. Kane was named tournament MVP.
Also on Sunday, Team USA beat Team Canada, 4-1, in the bronze-medal game. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper served as the backup to Canada’s Curtis McElhinney and did not play.
Kuemper stopped 98 of 113 shots in seven games at this year’s tournament. His goals-against average was 2.48 and his save percentage was .867.
Coyotes prospects MacKenzie Entwistle and Tyler Steenbergen both suffered defeats in their first games at the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, Saskatchewan. Entwistle’s Hamilton Bulldogs (Ontario Hockey League) fell to the host Regina Pats, 3-2 on Friday. Steenbergen had a goal in the Swift Current Broncos’ (Western Hockey League) 4-3 overtime loss to Acadie-Bathurst Titan (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).
Steenbergen suffered an injury early in the second and did not return. He is considered day-to-day. He did not skate Monday morning ahead of the team’s game with Hamilton. Broncos coach Manny Viveiros said Steenbergen would be a game-time decision.
— The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee will meet Thursday in New York. The coach’s challenge, goalie equipment, the officiating report and the player safety report are all on the agenda, per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
— Another name to keep an eye on for the Coyotes as the NHL Draft approaches: Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He has been rising recently on draft boards. He had 29 points in 57 games with Assat in Finland’s top league at age 17 and he played a key role for Finland’s gold medal-winning team at the U-18 World Championships. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds Kotkaniemi could end up being the first center taken. The Athletic’s prospects writer, Corey Pronman, lists him as the No. 4 prospect in his latest rankings.