The Swedish national team beat the Russian squad, 2-1, in the 2014 World Junior Championship Semifinal on Saturday, Jan. 4, to advance to the gold-medal game, but the win was marred by a subsequent on-ice brawl.
With fighting not allowed in this tournament or in international hockey whatsoever, the postgame fight could cost the Swedish team dearly as it prepares for the final matchup against Finland.
Emotions were running high in this elimination game and tempers were flaring as the final horn sounded, but the situation got out of control when Swedish defenseman Jesper Pettersson (No. 6) left the penalty box and began throwing punches at Russian defender Andrei Mironov (No. 22).
Pettersson had been issued a slashing minor with 30 seconds remaining in the game. After seeing the fight taking place along the boards, the Swedish star left the penalty box and skated out of his way to attack Mironov from behind.
*GIF via @PeteBlackburn
Both men exchanged punches, but it was clearly Pettersson that instigated the fight.
According to Adam Steiss of the tournament’s official website, the IIHF Disciplinary Panel has issued Pettersson a one-game suspension for his actions. With only one game left on the schedule—the gold-medal matchup against Finland—the young defender has hurt his team’s chances of winning a world championship this season.
Both players were issued coincidental minors for roughing on the play, but the IIHF reserves the right to review any conduct viewed as detrimental to the event’s reputation.
The governing body’s swift action sends a clear message to the rest of the players across the world that this type of action will not be tolerated.
Hockey is a physical game that provides ample opportunities for emotions to get out of hand, but the players must do a better job controlling themselves. If Pettersson’s actions and his subsequent suspension cost Sweden a gold medal, the team will have no one to blame but itself.