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Flyers’ Sam Ersson, Sweden to Compete for Bronze Medal

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(Photo: AP)

Joel Farabee and his Team USA have already been eliminated from the IIHF Men’s World Championships, placing fifth at the tournament, but the Philadelphia Flyers still have another representative in the running for a medal. That would be none other than rookie goalie Sam Ersson and his Sweden squad who, despite losing 7-3 to Czechia on Saturday, will still have the opportunity to play for a bronze medal.

Ersson, 24, has made four appearances in the tournament thus far, winning all three of his starts against Kazakhstan, Germany, and France, respectively, and allowing two goals on six shots in a relief appearance against Czechia on Saturday.

Minnesota Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson also enjoyed a strong tournament showing, featuring as Sweden’s starting goalie of choice, but ultimately faltered in the big moment.

Both Gustavsson and his Flyers counterpart were unbeaten in the World Championships until they ran into Czechia, who received some noteworthy reinforcements in the middle of their campaign. Potential Flyers trade target Martin Necas and a guy named David Pastrnak have played pretty well for the Czechs.

If Ersson and Sweden are able to defeat Canada in the bronze medal game on Sunday and finish in third place, Ersson would win the first medal of his international career. Gustavsson, who will likely get the nod in Sweden’s last game of the tournament, has medaled three times in his international career. The 25-year-old does have slightly more experience than Ersson, so it only makes sense that he closes the tournament out.

Being a fairly prominent figure on this Sweden team at all is a big step forward for Ersson. The Flyers rookie just finished his first season as an NHL regular and unexpectedly had to do so as the team’s de facto starter in the absence of Carter Hart. At times, Ersson showed how high his ceiling could be, but as most young players do, he struggled with consistency.

Hopefully, when all is said and done, this extended run of international duty will help Ersson continue to grow between the pipes.

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