Canada’s attempt to stay undefeated at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup resulted in success on Tuesday, as goals by Michael McLeod and Will Bitten sealed the deal to secure the 2-0 victory over Canada.
A bright spot from the OHL in yesterday’s game, which saw him record an assist, Mississauga Steelheads forward Michael McLeod stole the puck from an unaware defenseman and rushed in all alone. Known for his quick hands, McLeod made a slick deke around Swedish netminder Filip Gustavsson by going forehand, backhand and forehand again for the 1-0 goal.
McLeod’s line was one of the biggest to watch in the first period. Suiting up along with David Quenneville and Zach Porier for the most part, Canada was getting some strong efforts from three players looking for big seasons before the NHL Draft. For McLeod, his rookie season left a lot to be desired, but playing on a weaker OHL team, as well as playing in a very minimal role for a good portion of the season, didn’t help the cause. With Canada, McLeod had two points in just four periods of action, with both plays proving to be almost highlight reel worthy. Playing much stronger and faster than the rest of the competition, McLeod was surely the top player to watch early on in the game.
Canada was close to getting another one on the board with about 13 minutes left to go in the second. Jordan Kyrou did a superb job of forcing not one, not two, but three Swedes out of position before breaking in all alone on Gustavsson. The Swedish netminder did a good job of deflecting the puck away before Canada would get a chance at a rebound, keeping it a one goal game.
One thing that hurt Canada against the Czech Republic on Monday (mind you, it was a 3-1 win for Canada) was their inability to get the shot away in the middle of the ice. The Czech’s would force Canada to the outside, making it tougher for them to create something, and a lot of their chances would have to come from far out. On Tuesday, the Swedes forced Canada to make mistakes when they got to the middle, but for the most part kept the play alive from farther out. Regardless, it wouldn’t matter much in the end, as McLeod’s goal, plus an empty netter by Will Bitten helped cap off Canada’s 2-0 victory.
With the win, Canada will look to finish with a perfect record in the preliminary round with a match against the Swiss at 9:20am ET. Switzerland was unable to tackle the Swedes in their first game on Monday, but proved to be a powerful force for every minute of the game.
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