Game of the Night - Junior Edition

IIHF World Junior Championship
Canada vs. Sweden @ HSBC Arena
5-6 Final S/O

The two unbeaten teams in Group A play for the bye to the semi-finals.  With Jaden Schwartz out, will Canada dig down deep enough to play for their fallen teammate and his family?  And after years of heartbreak to the hands of the Canadians, will Sweden dig deep enough for revenge?
Zach Kassian is still out, but Canada gets back Calvin de Haan and Cody Eakin.  Will that be enough to face the Swedes?

Let's make this another New Year's to remember!

Still alive with the fire from the Norway blasting, Canada gets the lead early with a goal from Sean Couturier with 58 seconds gone on the clock!  But Sweden had an answer.  Just before the Swedish power-play expired, Max Friberg got his stick on the rubber and got the puck in the air to send it behind Olivier Roy.

Being true to their three wins and their impressive play against the Russians (a 2-0 shutout) Sweden gain the lead with a shot from Carl Klingberg from Sebastian Wannstrom.  But a great defensive play will make things work out just fine.  The Canadians answer back with a great defensive play from Calvin de Haan down in the Canadian zone.  Quinton Howden was sent off by this defensive play.  Ryan Johansen carried the puck from the neutral zone and sent the puck towards Howden who used his Swede check as a screen before sending his wrister around him.  The shot just takes a little bite out of Robin Lehner's glove before fluttering into the back of the net to tie the game up at two.

Seeing the magic that comes from great defensive plays, Canada does it again!  Ryan Johansen is sent down the ice with the puck again after a dual effort from his defensive pair.  Johansen shoots the puck, but as it soars just wide of the far-post and off the endboards, Curtis Hamilton picks up the dumped puck and knocks it into the back of the Swedish net, plastering a 'what-just-happened?' look on Lehner's face.  I guess it is true about what they say about Johansen; you don't mess with the Johan!  Especially when he's making plays like that!

I don't know what was said in the change room, but Sweden came back and tied the game up at three in the opening minute of the second.  Olivier Roy should've freezed the puck, but he didn't.  The Swedes continuously jammed and dug at the puck in front of Roy and eventually Carl Klingberg got his second of the night as the puck was flipped over Roy.

Canada ends up trailing once again when Patrick Cehlin shoots the puck at the top of the face-off circle and bites Roy's shoulder when Roy went down early.  That was enough for Roy and when de Haan went off for holding, Roy stepped up!  Roy snapped out the aggressive glove when Canada lost the face-off and Sweden began to come off of the boards.  It looked like the old Roy that was so great for us in the first two games is back and he's got a fire in his belly to win now!  But there was still a little flaw in how our penalty-kill was working: our face-offs.  After losing two straight, Coach Dave Cameron had seen enough face-off loses on that PP and put on Brayden Schenn.  Schenn carried the puck down towards the net while short-handed, but instead of being greedy, he passed over to Curtis Hamilton who got the short-handed goal by use of his skate.  The play went under review (stringy IIHF) for a kicking motion, but no way could the IIHF argue with this; this was a good goal!

The third period saw Canada play with a lot more of a defensive edge to their game.  There was more backchecking, forechecking, and bigger hits in the third, and that all allowed Canada to take the lead.  3:22 into the period and on the PP, Calvin de Haan makes the big shot that is tipped into Lehner by Ryan Johansen.  The rebound (that ended up right in front of Lehner) was picked up by none other than Brayden Schenn and Canada took a 5-4 lead!

But with 8:17 left to go in the period, Sweden ties it up.  Patrick Cehlin had the bad angle and made a good snap shot, but like before, Roy went down early and allowed a goal to go over his shoulder and into the top corner, short-side.  It wouldn't be a New Year's Eve game without some sort of wildness.  So of course we had to go to an overtime period, and eventually (after a lot of nervous shaking on my end) we head to a shoot-out.  Little tidbit: Canada is undefeated in the shoot-out.  But that record goes out the window when two shooters for Sweden beat Olivier Roy and none of our shooters beat Lehner.  I guess we're taking the long road to the finals, eh?

The fight in this game from both teams can give anyone enough reason to talk.  One reason why I love playing the Swedes is because of the game that these two teams elict from each other.  It's always great to watch a Canada-Sweden game.  These two teams on this New Year's Eve bit and nipped at each other and forced a shoot-out.  Like this game wasn't exciting enough, right?  It was a big game for both of these teams, and maybe the Swedes were bitter enough at losing so many times to Sweden that they just had enough to win this one.  We'll have an interesting trip in the quarter-finals mates!

Player of the Game: Marcus Foligno (CAN), Carl Klingberg (SWE)

My 3 stars:
(1) Ryan Johansen
(2) Brayden Schenn
(3) Robin Lehner


Canada                                                                                          Sweden
Curtis Hamilton: 2 G                                                                      Carl Klingberg: 2 G
Brayden Schenn: 1 G, 1 A                                                             Jesper Thornberg: 1 G
Sean Couturier: 1 G                                                                       Max Friberg: 1 G
Quinton Howden: 1 G                                                                   Patrick Cehlin: 1 G
Ryan Johansen: 3 A                                                                       Rickard Rakell: 1 A
Calvin de Haan: 2 A                                                                      Sebastian Wannstrom: 1 A
Simon Despres: 1 A                                                                      Patrik Nemeth: 1 A
                                                                                                     Tim Erixon: 1 A 
                                                                                                     Fredrik Stryman: 1 A

Oscar Lindberg (SWE) gets the GWG in the shoot-out.

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