Team Sweden is looking to improve upon their performance at last year's IIHF U18 World Championship after failing to medal at that event. Sweden has arrived as one of the top hockey countries, so missing out on a medal in Sochi had to be a major disappointment.
The opening to Sweden's 2014 U18 has so far been a mixed bag. After dropping their tournament opener, 3-1, to Canada, Sweden won their second game, a 4-3 win over Russia that came in a shootout after Sweden had blown a 3-0 lead in the third period.
One of the two shootout scorers for Sweden, forward Adrian Kempe, is certain to be an important part of his country's efforts to secure a medal at this year's tournament. For a country that tends to ice a more skilled group of forwards, Kempe stands out as more of a power forward rather than a straight skill player. He plays a style of game that could eventually lend itself very well to the North American brand of hockey employed in the NHL.
Kempe played a good portion of the 2013-14 season for MODO's SHL team, Sweden's highest level of hockey. In 45 games for MODO, Kempe scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points to go along with a +5 rating.
Kempe spoke with Hockey's Future following Sweden's opening loss to Canada, a conversation captured in this HF video.
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