STOCKHOLM (Sweden) - Sweden scored two quick first period goals to jump out to a 2-0 lead and then carried that momentum behind a sold-out crowd of 13,850 to defeat the Canadian national hockey team 7-1 on the opening day of the Sweden Games at the Globe Arena in Stockholm. The Czech Republic beat Russia 7-2 in the other game of the four-team tournament.
"Our team played nervous early on allowing Sweden to jump out to a 2-0 lead and take charge of the game behind the noise of a sell-out crowd," said Canadian national team coach Tom Renney. "They were better skilled then we were, and our lack of ability to take that away from them, with pressure and physical play, provided them with the opportunity to dominate."
Sweden scored three times in the first period to Canada's one, then added three more in the middle frame and their seventh goal in the third period for the 7-1 final. Sweden scored four times on nine power-play opportunities, while Canada failed to capitalize during three Sweden penalties.
The Swedes went ahead 2-0 on goals by Per Svartvadet of the Modo Hockey Club at the 1:08 minute mark, and Mathias Johansson of Farjestads BK on a power-play goal at 5:10 of the first period.
Jason Young of Chelmsford, Ontario, scored the Canadians' lone goal to cut the Swede's lead in half, 2-1, at 14:12 of the first period, but Fredrik Oberg of Vasteras IK began Sweden's charge at 16:44 for a 7-1 rout.
Sweden went ahead 4-1 at the 8:26 mark of middle frame on a power-goal by Tomas Holsmstrom of Lulea HF, 5-1 on Johansson's second goal at 18:27, and Fredrik Modin of Brynas IF made it 6-1 on a two-man advantage with one second left in the second period.
Renney replaced goalkeeper Mark Cavallin of Mississauga, Ontario, after Sweden's fourth goal in favour of Andrew Verner of Weston, Ontario.
Tomas Forslund of Leksands IF wrapped up Sweden's offensive charge at 13:49 of the final period for a result of 7-1.
Sweden out-shot Canada 51-21 with Cavallin stopping 18 shots, and Verner making 26 saves. Tomas Ostlund pushed back 20 Canadian shots on goal.
"We seemed to show the Swedes too much respect sitting back and watching, instead of initiating play," noted Renney of their international experience, "and we could not come back from the two early goals to threaten them during the game."
Canada will try to improve on its winless record at the 1995 Sweden Games, in its final two meetings with the Czech Republic on Saturday and Russia on Sunday. In 1995, the Canadian national team lost 7-4 to Sweden, 3-1 to the Czech Republic and were shut-out 6-0 by Russia.
Canada's 1995-96 record after 37 games stands at 24 wins, nine losses and four ties.
Sweden Games, Stockholm
February 8 - Czech Republic 7 Russia 2; Sweden 7 Canada 1
February 9 - Sweden vs Russia
February 10 - Canada vs Czech Republic
February 11 - Czech Republic vs Sweden; Canada vs Russia