GOALTENDING, POWER PLAY LEAD SWEDES PAST CANADA BLACK
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Swedish goaltenders Olle Eriksson Ek and Arvid Söderblom combined to stop 36 of the 37 shots they faced, helping Sweden past Canada Black 5-1 in pre-tournament play ahead of the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Friday night.
Sweden did most of its damage on the power play, converting three times with the man advantage.
Erik Brännström led the way with a pair of goals, and Timothy Liljegren added a goal and a helper. Stelio Mattheos (Winnipeg, Man./Brandon, WHL) had the lone Canadian goal in the third period.
Sweden took early advantage of Canada Black’s penalty problems; Jesper Emanuelsson ripped a shot past Canadian goaltender Alex D’Orio (Sherbrooke, Que./Magog, LHMAAAQ) on a two-on-one midway through the opening period, and Liljegren made it 2-0 at even strength less than two minutes later.
Another late Swedish power play led to another goal; Isac Lundeström made it a three-goal game with an outside shot at 19:03 of the opening frame, capping a period that saw the Swedes hold an 11-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Canada Black hit the ice harder in the second period, but couldn’t beat Eriksson Ek, who stopped everything he faced before giving way to Söderblom, and couldn’t stay out of the penalty box; the Canadians took four of the five minors called in the stanza.
Brännström took advantage of the third of those four for a 4-0 Swedish lead, and he added his second goal five minutes later, tapping a shot past Jacob McGrath (Mississauga, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL) for an unassisted effort.
Both teams came out firing in the third period, combining for 31 shots in the final frame, but only one found the back of the net; Mattheos ended the Swedish shutout bid on a Canadian power play at 10:34, taking a pass from Hayden Davis (Hamilton, Ont./Niagara, OHL) and going top shelf from in close.
The Canadians had their chances to get closer in the dying minutes, including a late five-on-three; the best chance came off the stick of Shane Bowers (Herring Cove, N.S., Waterloo, USHL), who had an open net to shoot at, but Söderblom robbed him when he slid across the crease to make a huge glove save.
Canada Black finished with a 37-20 advantage in shots, including 33-19 in the final 40 minutes.
The Swedes kick off their schedule Sunday afternoon against defending gold medallist Russia in Fort St. John, B.C. (2:30 p.m. MT), while Canada Black faces Canada White in an all-Canadian opener Sunday in Dawson Creek (2:30 p.m. MT).