SWEDES EDGE CANADA BLACK, WIN SECOND U17 GOLD MEDAL
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Adam Bokvist scored the game-winning goal on the power play early in the third period, sending Sweden to a 2-1 win over Canada Black in the gold medal game Saturday night at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
It’s the second U17 gold for the Swedes, who also topped the podium in 2013 in Victoriaville, Que.
The game was a battle of the goaltenders, with Swedish netminder Olof Lindblom – who was named to the tournament all-star team following the game – and Canadian counterpart Jacob Ingham (Barrie, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) going save-for-save while combining to stop 61 of the 63 shots they faced.
Most of the offence came at five-on-five; the game included just three minor penalties – two called against Canada Black, and one against the Swedes.
Sweden held a 17-10 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, but it was the Canadians who found the scoreboard first; Eli Zummack (Kelowna, B.C./Okanagan, BCMML) showed off a deft touch, redirecting a shot from Black captain Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL) through Lindbom at 15:44.
That would stand up until just shy of the midway mark of the second when Linus Nässén made a quick cut into the slot and shot across his body, sneaking the puck past the outstretched glove of Ingham.
Bokvist netted the winner 3:50 into the third period with Adam McMaster (Beamsville, Ont./North Bay, OHL) off for slashing; the Swedish defenceman beat Ingahm with a wrist shot from the blue-line that made its way through a sea of bodies in front.
Canada Black earned its lone power play midway through the final frame but couldn’t find a way past Lindbom, who made 10 of his 27 saves in the third.
The Swedes are the third team in a row to win gold after losing two of three preliminary-round games, following Russia in 2014 and Canada White last year, but the first in tournament history to take the top prize after back-to-back losses to open the tournament.
The gold medal game featured three of the six players named to the all-star team – Smith, Lindbom and Swedish forward Samuel Fagemo were joined by defenceman Jett Woo (Canada White), and forwards Joel Farabee (United States) and Andrey Svechnikov (Russia).