February 1, 2022

Beijing 2022 Ice Hockey: Team Sweden Preview



3 min readby Zoë Hayden



Beijing 2022 Ice Hockey: Team Sweden Preview

2018 Olympic finish

7th. Team Sweden won 2 of their 3 round robin games in Group B, which advanced them to the quarterfinal round, but they fell 7-2 to Finland. In placement games, they fell 2-1 in overtime to Japan and then beat the unified Korean team 7-1 to claim 7th place out of 8 teams.

2021 IIHF Women's World Championship finish

After their 2019 finish in 9th place in the top division tournament, Sweden was relegated to relegated to Division IA. But the lower division women's tournaments have not been played since then due to COVID-19, so Sweden has not played an international senior IIHF women's tournament in over two years.

IIHF World Ranking

9th overall

Forwards

Josefin Bouveng, Emma Murén, Lisa Johansson, Linnea Johansson, Sofie Lundin, Sara Hjalmarsson, Linn Peterson, Felizia Wikner-Zienkiewicz, Lina Ljungblom, Emma Nordin, Michelle Löwenhielm, Olivia Carlsson

Defense

Anna Kjellbin, Linnea Andersson, Johanna Fällman, Ebba Berglund, Jessica Adolfsson, Mina Waxin, Maja Nylén-Persson, Paula Bergström

Goaltenders

Agnes Åker, Emma Söderberg, Ida Boman

Åker replaces Sara Grahn on the roster due to Grahn testing positive for COVID prior to travel to Beijing. Grahn was the starter the last time we saw this team in 2019 at Worlds, and she was in net for 2 of the 3 wins in qualification that sent Sweden to these Olympics, making 30 saves on 32 shots over 2 games to beat France and Slovakia. Current UMD Bulldog Söderberg is most likely to become the starter in Grahn's absence as she has been alternated with Grahn during qualifications and exhibitions.

Coach

Ulf Lundberg, in his first ever Olympics.

Ylva Lindberg had come in to coach the squad back in 2018 but has since moved to a position as an assistant with the Norwegian national women's team. She was let go after the team's demotion to IA, despite the fact that she had come in to lead a team that was rattled after years of reportedly abusive coaching by Leif Boork.

Lundberg was brought in after being fired from Södertälje SK, a pro men's team in HockeyAllsvenskan; he has experience at the international level as a head coach for the junior men's U16 and U17 teams.

Keep an eye on

This roster has seen several last-minute changes due to positive COVID tests, according to Tre Kronor's website. But there should be some built-in chemistry since many of the players compete together in the SDHL on the same teams.

Maja Nylén-Persson is probably the most dynamic skater on the roster. The defender has 13 goals and 27 assists for Brynäs IF this season, making her the second-highest-scoring blueliner in the league behind only Jenni Hiirikoski. She is also a +53 on the season over just 28 games – so suffice it to say, her team tends to score goals when she is on the ice. Look for her to contribute on special teams and be a key playmaker.

At forward, Sweden has a very solid roster down the middle, and I would expect Josefin Bouveng and Sara Hjalmarsson to lead the charge. Hjalmarsson has some nifty goals with Providence College this season and was just heating up on offense before leaving her college team to join Team Sweden. Bouveng is the highest-scoring Swedish forward in the SDHL (also with Brynäs, 17G/19A over 21 games) who can bury one-timers with the best of them. The 20-year-old is committed to the University of Minnesota as well for the 2022-23 season.

Prediction

This roster from Sweden can score, but the biggest question is, I think, defense. Their qualification tournament didn't really give us much of an idea of how they might perform against a higher-ranked opponent where they need to be very stingy defensively and run a strong forecheck. The Group B program in these Olympics is the strongest it's been in years if the 2021 Worlds were any indication – they have some strong offenses to defend against, which should get them warmed up to the idea pretty quickly. I think Sweden will play well enough to warrant a quarterfinals appearance but they might draw too tough an opponent to make it to the semifinals.

(Photo: Fredrik Sundvall/IIHF)



Filed under: ice hockey; team sweden; 2022 olympics; beijing 2022

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