GAME NOTES: Canada vs. Sweden (May 5)
TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct
With sights firmly set on the gold medal game,
Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team squares off with Sweden in the semifinals at the 2021 IIHF U18 World
Championship on Wednesday afternoon, the second meeting in nine days
between the rivals and third time in six years they clash in the final
Connor Bedard proved too much for the Czech Republic to handle in the
quarterfinals on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists in a
10-3 win to send Canada through to the semis. Bedard posted a goal and two helpers in the first period as the Canadians
jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the opening seven minutes.
Dylan Guenther added a pair of goals and Shane Wright added his
team-leading sixth in just three games for Canada, which got 29 saves from
Sweden sent the United States home without a medal for the first time in 18
years at the tournament with a pair of goals from Fabian Lysell and 31
saves from goalie Carl Lindbom in a 5-2 quarterfinal win.
The Americans tied the game at 1-1 in the second period before Lysell took
over, restoring the Swedish advantage with an absolute beauty just 43
seconds later before adding the eventual game-winner just 1:26 into the
In a much-anticipated battle between the defending gold medallists and a
star-studded Canadian roster, it was Brandt Clarke recording two goals and
two assists and Shane Wright posting a hat trick as part of
Canada’s lopsided 12-1 victory last Tuesday.
Canada put four goals past Sweden in each period, with a Simon Forsmark
consolation marker midway through the final frame spoiling the Thomas Milic
shutout bid and breaking up a run of 10 unanswered goals for the boys in
red and white. In all, nine Canadians scored goals and 16 recorded points.
WHAT TO WATCH
Make no mistake — Canada will be facing a much-different Sweden side in the
semifinals than the one it encountered early in the group stage.
The Swedes arrived in Texas as defending gold medallists, but a long layoff
from competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a date with Canada in
their second of back-to-back games to open the tournament made for an early
Lindbom now holds a 2.48 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in
four games despite giving up four goals on 14 shots in the opening period
against Canada, while the offence has pitched in with 15 goals in the three
games since its double-digit dismantling.
An upset win over the host Americans and playing their best hockey of the
tournament when they need it most only inflates the Swedes’ desire for
revenge in the semis against the undefeated Canadians.
A LOOK BACK
Last week’s lopsided result inflated the goal differential in favour of
Canada, but the margin in the head-to-head history is a narrow 10-8 lead
for the Canadians.
You only have to go as far back as 2019, the most recent edition of the
tournament, to find the last meeting in the semifinals, when a late
Albin Grewe goal sent the Swedes to the gold medal game and an eventual world title. This will be the fourth final-four face-off
between the teams –
Canada earned a 3-2 win en route to gold in 2008 and
Sweden posted a 6-5 shootout decision in 2016 before the 2019 nailbiter mentioned above.
All-time record: Canada leads 10-8 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 73
Sweden goals: 51