GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. SWEDEN (AUG. 8)
We’re back! Just over seven months after COVID-19 shut down the 2022 IIHF
World Junior Championship,
Canada’s National Junior Team returns to the ice in Edmonton for its lone exhibition matchup ahead of the
rescheduled World Juniors, taking on Sweden.
Oh, what a night it was. All the way back on Dec. 28, one day before the
tournament was cancelled, Canada eased past Austria 11-2 on the back of a
historic four-goal effort from Connor Bedard. The Canadians spread around
the scoring, getting goals from seven different players and points from 16
(including all 12 forwards). In addition to Bedard’s performance, Canada
got two goals and an assist from Mason McTavish, and a goal and two helpers
from Cole Perfetti as it outshot the Austrians 64-22.
The Swedes last saw the ice on Dec. 27, getting a goal in each period –
from Theodor Niederbach, Albert Sjoberg and Daniel Ljungman – to back a
tremendous 48-save effort from Jesper Wallstedt in a 3-0 win over Slovakia.
Wallstedt made 13 saves in the first period, 17 in the second and 18 in the
third to help the Swedes improve to 2-0 in Red Deer.
You’ve got to go back to the gold medal game in Buffalo to find the last
time the Canadians and Swedes faced off at the World Juniors. In that one,
Dillon Dubé and Tim Soderlund traded second-period goals, and overtime
loomed before Tyler Steenbergen redirected in a feed from Conor Timmins
with 1:40 left, becoming the 13th and final Canadian forward to score a
goal. An empty-netter from Alex Formenton sealed a 3-1 win and a 17th World
Juniors gold for Canada.
WHAT TO WATCH
Will there be any rust for the Canadians? Even the least-rested player –
William Dufour last played June 29 when his Saint John Sea Dogs won the
Memorial Cup – has been off for 40 days. Bedard has had the longest layoff;
he last played a competitive game at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship
on April 28, 102 days ago. But that’s what pre-tournament is all about,
right? The exhibition contest will be a perfect chance for the Canadians –
and the Swedes – to get their legs under them before preliminary-round play
The Swedish roster is stacked with first-round talent; towering blue-liner
Simon Edvinsson (6th overall, Detroit, 2021) leads the way on the back end
and Wallstedt (20th, Minnesota, 2021) will carry the load in goal, while
the forward group includes Isak Rosen (14th, Buffalo, 2021), Jonathan
Lekkerimäki (15th, Vancouver, 2022), Liam Öhgren (19th, Minnesota, 2022),
Fabian Lysell (21st, Boston, 2021) and Oskar Olausson (28th, Colorado,
A LOOK BACK
This one won’t count towards the all-time records, but there have been 32
that have since 1977. The Canadians have won 22 of those, including four in
the gold medal game (1996, 2008, 2009, 2018).
Only one Canadian has scored a hat trick against the Swedes at the World
Juniors – Wayne Babych did it on New Year’s Day 1978 in Montreal, with all
three coming off setups from 16-year-old Wayne Gretzky in a 6-5 loss.
All-time record: Canada leads 22-9-1 (2-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 139
Sweden goals: 88