Canada Starts off strong against Sweden

By Chris McCluskey

The curiousness and passiveness felt by fans at the
Finland vs. Germany game earlier in the day quickly
changed to nervous energy as the host Canada was due
to take on Team Sweden in the first round robin
match-up for both countries. The cheering during the
player introductions nearly took the roof off the
Metro Centre, and Canada did not disappoint the 10,300
faithful on hand; demonstrating the dominance expected
for every Canadian team in international play with an
8-2 thrashing of their Swedish counterparts.

Special teams were a huge factor on this night as
Canada sprung for 6 powerplay markers on a very
undisciplined Swedish squad and adding one while short
handed. It took Canada just 1:31 to get on the board
with a goal from Brooks Laich from Carlo Colaiacovo
and Ian White. Colaiacovo went on to score 4 assists,
a team high for points on the night.

Swedish goaltender Mathias Fagerstrom’s play was less
than spectacular but he did make several difficult
saves throughout the game. Along with the team giving
up too many power play chances, Fagerstrom was also
often left helpless by his defence whose coverage of
open Canadian players was below par.

To the delight of the fans on hand the Swedes could
not match Canada’s very strong physical presence which
often left the Scandanavians scrambling. This was led
by fan favorite Jordin Tootoo, whose name echoed
throughout the arena every time he came on the ice.

“I don’t try to change my style when I am out there,
said the Nashville Predators prospect when asked about
his popularity, I like to bang around and thats
Canadian hockey.”

Ian White scored his first of two goals late in the
first and the Swedes did finally get on the board with
two second period goals from Robert Nilsson and Joakim
Lindstrom but that was as many as they would get.
Matt Stajan along with White rounded out goal scoring
for the second period while Derek Roy, Brendan Bell,
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, and Scottie Upshall all
scored singles in the third.

There were also some tense moments in the game as
Scottie Upshall and Frederik Sjostrom were given
roughing minors for stick work during a faceoff in the
second period, Yared Hagos pulling Boyd Gordons
helmet off, a third period retaliation penalty to
Andreas Jamtin for retaliating after a clean hit from
Tootoo, Pierre-Marc Bouchard checking a Swedish
defender from behind, and a short melee stemming from
Jonas Leetma dragging down a Canadian who broke free
and went in on Fagerstrom alone. After all was said
and done, 22 penalties were called by referee
Alexander Poliakov who did an admirable job
maintaining control of the game.

Canadian goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves while
Fagerstrom stopped 28 of 36 in a losing cause. Carlo
Colaiacovo picked up player of the game honors for the
Canadians while Joakim Lindstrom took it home for the
Swedes. Tomorrow is an off day for both teams but
they will both be back in action this Saturday.