Canada and Sweden met on
December 27th in front of a close to sellout crowd at the Ralph
Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
Team Sweden, who ranked seventh at the 2004 WJC and eighth the previous
year, was looking for its first win over Canada since 1998.
They will have to wait a little bit more to break this series as the
Canadian junior team proved again this afternoon that all the hype around the
team strength and depth was not exaggerated so far, winning 8-1.
Heino-Lindberg saves it all in first
The Canadians took the lead in the third minute of the game while Jeff
Carter converted a pass from Ryan Getzlaf just few seconds after a Sweden
player left the penalty box.
Before the sixth minute was over, Canada had eight shots on goal while
the Swedish were still looking for their first.
Nevertheless, Sweden replied in the eighth minute on their second shot,
a power play goal scored by David Fredriksson assisted by Ola Svenberg and
In the 20th minute of the first period, despite the fact that
his team was playing two men short, Mike Richards had two back-to-back great
chances to score after having an near breakaway, but Swedish goalie Christopher
Raino-Lindberg was brilliant.
The period ended 1-1, though the Canadians led 16-4 in the shots on goal.
The Swedish could not get a single shot on goal at the end of the period while
playing close to one full minute with two-man advantage.
Raino-Lindberg was the incontestable star of this period.
Canada fires in the second period
Team Canada regained the lead with only 52 seconds played in the middle
period, with Clarke Macarthur‘s third goal of the tournament on a pass from
Colin Fraser. This happened [again] just few seconds after the end of a
Canadian penalty. Less than two minutes
later, Nigel Dawes scored with a weak shot assisted by Danny Syvret.
Despite the undisciplined Canadians sustaining another long two-man
disadvantage in the first part of the second period, Sweden could not score.
Indeed, they just managed to get two shots in those favorable circumstances.
Left alone in the crease, Patrice Bergeron scored on a rebound from a
Brent Seabrook point shot at 12:49. At
15:11, Sidney Crosby used his huge talent to score a power play goal while
almost sitting on the ice. Bergeron and Perry assisted.
Simply too strong
Sweden coach Bandelin replaced Heino-Lindberg by David Rautio Berguv
during the second intermission, but this changed nothing. With just 21 seconds
played, Crosby scored his fourth power play goal, assisted by Corey Perry. That
put the score at 6-1.
Then, 25 seconds later, Andrew Ladd added a seventh goal for Canada, on
a brilliant back pass from Ryan Getzlaf. At that point, shots were 35 to 10 in
favor of Canada.
Team Canada didn’t slow down the tempo. Getzlaf beat the Sweden goaltender
at 12:32, assisted by Carter and Seabrook. It was then 8-1 and Canada had
outshot Sweden 46 to 16.
Mike Richards was named the best Canadian player. Christopher
Heino-Lindberg deserved the same title despite having allowed six goals and
been replaced for the third period. He was indeed the best player of his team.
‘’It doesn’t matter,’’ said Heino-Lindberg after the game. ‘’It was a
funny game, you can’t win if you just watch the opponent play as we did
tonight,’’ he commented.
‘’I felt at home tonight with all these Canadians in the stand cheering
for us,‘’ said Mike Richards. ‘’It brings a lot of energy and emotion. This is
Linus Persson left the game in the first period
after being hit very hard but legally by Dion Phaneuf. After that hit,
the Swedish never approached Phaneuf in the corners. It appears though that
Persson suffers a broken arm and was sent to the hospital.
Canada has now won nine of the last eleven WJC games over Sweden.
Sweden’s last medal was in 1996 in Boston, Mass.
This year Swedish’s edition is young. Six players are 18 years old and
one (Niklas Bergfors) is only 17 years of age.
Only four of the 2004 Sweden squad are returnees from the 2004 WJC – Johann
Fransson (Dallas, 2nd round 2004), Robert Nilssson (New
York Islanders, 1st round, 2003), Loui Eriksson (Dallas, 2nd
round, 2003) and Johannes Salmonsson (Pittsburgh, 2nd round,
Sweden has 11 players drafted
with four of whom are Dallas Stars property – forward Loui Eriksson (2003)
and defensemen Elias Granat (2003), Johan Fransson (2004),
and Niklas Grossmann (2004).
Richard is the author of La Serie du siecle, Septembre 1972, a book about the
Summit Series published in 2002.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the