2023 24 nmu18t can fin matchup

U18 Men’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Sweden

Saturday, May 4 | 11 a.m. ET | Espoo, Finland | Semifinal

Shannon Coulter
May 4, 2024

A spot in the gold medal game is on the line as Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team travels to Espoo for the first time to face Sweden in the semifinals at the 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship at Metro Areena.

Last Game

Canada earned its semifinal spot by blanking Latvia 4-0 in its quarterfinal Thursday. Maxim Massé opened the scoring on a power play just over five minutes into the first period, with Ryder Ritchie, Porter Martone and Jett Luchanko rounding out the scoring. Harrison Brunicke and Tij Iginla had two assists each, while Carter George made 23 saves for the shutout.

Sweden defeated host Finland 2-1 to book its spot in the semifinal. Alfons Freij scored 2:40 minutes into the game to put the Swedes up 1-0 early, and Jack Berglund got the game-winner late in the middle frame. Love Härenstam made 21 saves for Sweden.

Last Meeting

Let’s throw it all the way back… 10 days to the beginning of this tournament when Canada kicked off the prelims with a 6-3 victory over Sweden. Luchanko and Malcolm Spence gave the Canadians an early 2-0 lead, Gavin McKenna scored twice in 1:49 apart in the first period, and Matthew Schaefer and Carson Wetsch rounded out the scoring. George stopped 26 shots for the win.

What to Watch

George has been fantastic in the Canadian goal. In four games, he has .936 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average (both second among qualified goaltenders, behind American netminder Nicholas Kempf), with two shutouts. His showing in Finland continues a strong season: the 17-year-old had a .907 save percentage and 3.30 goals-against average with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack,, and while representing Canada last summer at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the Thunder Bay, Ontario, native boasted a .889 save percentage and a 2.26 goals-against average.

Melvin Fernström and Lucas Pettersson have been leading the offence for Sweden, each recording two goals and six points in five games. Fernström had a plus-25 rating with 31 goals and 63 points during the regular season for the Örebro HK U20 team, while Pettersoon was plus-27 with 27 goals and 57 points with MoDo Hockey U20.

A Look Back

Meeting the Swedes at the IIHF U18 World Championship has always meant a tough matchup for Canada. In head-to-head, Canada holds a narrow 12-10 advantage.

It’s the third time in four years the teams will clash in the semifinals. The Swedes had the advantage last year in Switzerland, while Canada rode a Connor Bedard hat trick and four points from Shane Wright to an 8-1 win in 2021 in Texas.

All-time record: Canada leads 12-10 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 89
Sweden goals: 70

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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