By Mackenzie Liddell
Oscar Lindberg scored the shootout-winner and Sweden upset Canada 6-5 in a wild back-and-forth affair in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday night.
With the win, Sweden (4-0) will get an automatic berth in the semifinal, while Canada will likely play Switzerland in the quarterfinal, although they could end up facing the U.S. if Switzerland beats the Americans Friday night.
Carl Klingberg scored twice and Max Friberg, Jesper Thornberg and Patrick Cehlin scored one apiece, as Sweden threw everything it had at the Canadians.
Curtis Hamilton scored twice, while Sean Couturier, Quinton Howden and Brayden Schenn added the others for Canada (3-1). Ryan Johansen added three assists.
Highly touted Robin Lehner fought the puck most of the night, but stopped Ryan Ellis and Schenn in the shootout and finished with 29 saves.
Olivier Roy made 36 saves in the Canadian net.
Canada jumped on Sweden early and made them pay for a costly turnover, as Couturier picked off the puck in the neutral zone and worked his way past the Swedish defense before banking the puck off a Swedish defender standing in front of the net.
But Sweden answered right back on the power play moments later. With Casey Cizikas in the box for hooking, Rickard Rakell shot the puck off Erik Gudbranson’s shin pads and Friberg batted the puck out of the air and past Roy to tie things at one.
Sweden gained momentum with a series of power plays midway through the first, but Canada’s defense weathered the storm.
But the Swedes kept pushing the pace and were rewarded at 14:55 when Klingberg wheeled behind the Canadian net, curled out front and wristed the puck top corner to give Sweden a 2-1 advantage.
It didn’t take long for Canada to respond, however, as Howden snapped a weak wrister from the top of the circle that evaded Lehner’s glove 43 seconds later.
In the dying seconds of the period Hamilton proved going to the net pays off, as he was in perfect position to tap in Johansen’s shot that ricocheted off a stanchion and bounced out front, giving Canada a 3-2 lead with half a second left in the first.
Although Sweden controlled the play throughout the period and outshot Canada 15-9, Canada’s physical play – including a couple of monstrous hits by Foligno – allowed them to take back momentum.
The back-and-forth battle rolled over into the second and Klingberg got his second of the game 57 seconds into the period when Dylan Olsen batted the puck into his own net.
Sweden then regained the lead when Thornberg ripped a slap shot over Roy’s shoulder on a delayed penalty to put them up 4-3, taking the life out of the pro-Canada crowd.
But sticking with the theme of the evening, Canada tied the game less than two minutes later thanks to a great shorthanded effort by Brayden Schenn who passed to Hamilton on a two-on-one for his second of the game. The goal was reviewed, but it was ruled there wasn’t a kicking motion when the puck bounced off Hamilton’s skate.
The Canadians swarmed the Swedes after tying it up, but Lehner played his best hockey of the contest and made some big saves, including a diving stop on Couturier.
Both teams seemed to tire out in the second half of the period and went into the break tied 4-4.
Foligno’s strong forecheck paid off early in the third, drawing a penalty from Adam Larsson and giving Canada its first power play of the game.
With 19 seconds remaining in Larsson’s slashing minor, Klas Dahlbeck was called for tripping and Canada’s leading scorer made him pay. After controlling the puck in the offensive zone, Johansen threw the puck on net and Schenn was right there to shovel the puck past Lehner at 3:22.
Cehlin had a chance to tie it moments later, but hit the post. But he made amends later in the period, beating Gudbranson to the outside and snapping a shot short side on Roy to tie the game 5-5 at 11:43.
Both teams exchanged chances late in the game. Howden used a burst of speed to break in shorthanded, but was turned away on the deke attempt. Then on the other end Calle Jarnkrok had a wide-open shot from the slot, but it was deflected at the last minute by a Canadian defenseman.
Sweden finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage while Canada scored once on their opportunities.