GOALTENDERS SHINE AS SWEDES EDGE RED IN SHOOTOUT FOR U17 BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Jesper Wallstedt and Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) put on a goaltending clinic with 45 saves apiece, but it was Lucas Raymond netting the shootout winner to give Sweden a 4-3 win over Canada Red in the bronze medal game Saturday afternoon at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Garand was the story through the first two periods, making 31 saves to keep Red within a goal, and Wallstedt stopped 27 of 28 through the third period and overtime before turning aside all five Canadians in the shootout.
Raymond was the second Swedish shooter; he came right at Garand before going post and in past the glove of the Canadian netminder.
Justin Sourdif (Surrey, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) had the last chance for the Canadians, beating Wallstedt but not the post.
Red got the early jump offensively when a wrist shot from Jake Murray (Oakville, Ont./Kingston, OHL) found space through traffic and past Wallstedt just before the seven-minute mark of the first period, but it was the Swedes who took a lead to the intermission.
Daniel Ljungman tied it at 10:45, poking in a loose puck after a shot from Oskar Magnusson had popped up and over Garand, and Zion Nybeck found space under the arm of Garand at 13:24 for the 2-1 goal.
The Scandinavians took advantage of a bad Canadian line change to make it a two-goal game in the second period; Wallstedt stretched a pass up to Alexander Holtz, who found Elliot Ekmark in the slot for a quick shot and a power-play marker that made it 3-1.
But the Canadians started their comeback with help from an unlikely source – the Swedes. With a penalty coming to Red and Wallstedt headed to the bench, a pass back missed everyone and found the empty net. William Dufour (Quebec City, Que./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) got credit, and it was a 3-2 game after 40 minutes.
Jacob Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill./Sarnia, OHL) tied the game early in the third period, whipping a quick wrist shot from a tight angle upstairs over the glove of Wallstedt to eventually force an extra period.
Shots through regulation and overtime finished dead even, 48-48.
The bronze is the eighth U17 medal for Sweden – it has won two gold, two silver and four bronze.