Although it didn’t matter in the standings, the highly-anticipated match up between Canada and Sweden did not disappoint in excitement. It was a physical contest that Sweden won 5-2 and finishes undefeated in the preliminary stage for a ninth consecutive tournament.
After a great pace to open the game, Sweden got a power play from scrum after the whistle where Jake Virtanen got the extra penalty. It didn’t take long for Sweden to capitalize as Mackenzie Blackwood let a huge rebound out and no Canadian had Alex Nylander, who buried it to give Sweden an early 1-0 lead. Not long after, Sweden would go back to the power play after a Rourke Chartier received a high-sticking penalty. Late in the Chartier penalty, Anthony Beauvillier sent the puck over the glass and Sweden would get a short two man advantage. Just as the Chartier penalty expired, Gustav Forsling’s wrist shot from the point beat Blackwood and put Sweden up 2-0 with two power play goals. Canada would get their first chance on the power play from a William Lagesson slashing penalty but could not convert as Sweden’s penalty kill looked strong. Late in the first, after some good shifts by Canada, they score. Linus Soderstrom allowed a big rebound which Mitchell Stephens potted to make it 2-1. Canada took a penalty soon after by were able to kill it off. The first period would end with Sweden holding its 2-1 lead and a 12-6 shots on goal advantage.
Sweden nearly scored their third of the game when Dmytro Timashov set up Rasmus Asplund in front and Asplund batted the puck out of the air but it slammed off the post and stayed out. Canada, midway through the second, had been controlling the puck and held the shots on goal advantage after being dominated for most of the first by the Swedes. Canada would get a chance to tie the game on the power play after Adam Ollas Mattsson, Mitchell Stephens, and Carl Grundstrom took roughing penalties after the whistle but the Swedish power play continued to be perfect for the tournament. Sweden would get their chance on the power play after a Brendan Perlini slashing penalty, and they converted. Adrian Kempe received a great pass from Axel Holmstrom below the goal line and Kempe buried it to make it 3-1. Sweden would take that advantage on the scoreboard into the final period. Canada out shot Sweden 12-7 but Sweden held the overalls shots on goal advantage at 19-18.
Sweden opened the third period controlling the play and shots on goal, making a couple of efforts to beat Mackenzie Blackwood but the Canadian goaltender denied the Swedes to keep Canada in the game early in the third. Sweden’s control of the game eventually led to their fourth goal as Anton Karlsson slid a rebound past Blackwood to make it 4-1. It didn’t get any easier for Canada as they took two penalties to give Sweden an extended 5-on-3 but Sweden could not capitalize and it remained a three goal game. Sweden becomes the undisciplined team after taking two penalties to give Canada a 5-on-3, which Canada would take advantage of very quickly when Mitch Marner wired a shot past a screened Linus Soderstrom to make it 4-2. Sweden would kill off the second penalty and keep it as a two goal game. Late in the game, Linus Soderstrom left the game and backup Felix Sandstrom took over as speculation was that Soderstrom got hurt at some point. It wouldn’t matter, however, as Sweden would score on an empty net and win the game 5-2. Sweden led the game in shots on goal, 32-24.
Sweden has now won 36 straight preliminary round games and have gone undefeated in the prelims in nine straight tournaments. In the quarter finals, Sweden will play Slovakia and Canada gets the host Finns as Canada finishes third in Group A behind the Swedes and Americans. Travis Konecny and Gustav Forsling were players of the game for each side.