A showdown was set between Canada and Sweden in the quarterfinal game. The last meeting was at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, when Canada defeated Sweden 3-0.
Defense was on full display through the first two periods, as the game remained scoreless. Once the third period began, it became clear that the outcome would be decided by one mistake or one opportunity for either team. That’s exactly what happened, as Lucas Wallmark took advantage of a bad turnover to give Sweden a 1-0 lead. Sweden would tack on an empty-netter and shut out Canada for the 2-0 win to advance to the semifinal game against ROC.
It was clear from the start that it would be a fast-paced and hard-hitting game. Canada’s Jack McBain laid a huge hit on Jonathan Pudas. Sweden went to the power play, but Canada successfully killed it off.
About halfway through the scoreless period, Sweden’s Joakim Nordstrom was called for interference giving Canada’s second-ranked power play a chance to go to work. Sweden’s penalty kill was ranked the worst of the tournament at 60%. Lars Johansson was peppered in net, but stood tall and saved everything that came his direction.
The story of the first period was elite level end-to-end action, as Matt Tomkins had 10 saves while Johansson had eight.
Anton Lander had the two best chances for Sweden in the second period, but Tomkins didn’t give an inch. Shots again were about equal heading into the break. Sweden had the slight edge with 18 and Canada finished with 17.
The first two periods were even, but Sweden dominated the first half of the third period. Canada had its first shot at 9:25 in the period.
Right after Canada finally had its first shot, Sweden capitalized on a mistake. Canada turned over the puck just inside the blue line with a back pass. McBain’s drop pass to Eric O’Dell found Wallmark instead, who stick handled the puck nicely before burying it past Thomas. Sweden took the pivotal1-0 lead.
It was a long 10 minutes for Sweden to protect the lead. Sweden’s defense dominated all game long and the final minutes were no different. Canada mounted a strong attack around the three-minute mark, but it was too little too late. Sweden’s defense cleared the puck to Lander behind the play, who buried the empty-netter with 1:50 to go, sealing the 2-0 victory and Sweden’s ticket to the semifinals.
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