Russia squeezed out a tight 4-3 overtime win over Sweden on Wednesday to end the country’s preliminary-round winning streak at 54 games.
Marat Khusnutdinov scored the game-winner in the dying seconds, and goaltender Yaroslav Askarov turned aside 33 shots.
Sweden’s last loss in the opening round of the world juniors came against the USA on Dec. 31, 2006.
The two sides exchanged goals and chances all game long, but Russia took the lead when Kirill Kirsanov scored halfway through the third period.
With the goalie pulled in the dying minutes, Sweden’s Noel Gunler tipped home Alexander Holtz’s blast from the point to tie things up and send the game to overtime. That’s when Russia eventually delivered the dagger in the final seconds while on the power play.
Elmer Soderblom was named the player of the game for Sweden, while Rodion Amirov earned the honor for the Russians.
The game was Russia’s final contest of the preliminary round. The country now awaits the results of Thursday’s matchup between Sweden and the United States, when the group’s final standings will be clear. The winner of Thursday’s clash between Canada and Finland will now face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.