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WENDY GRAVES

May 18 2014 ISN – MINSK, Belarus – Ryan Ellis (Freelton, Ont./Nashville, NHL) tipped in a Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, Ont./Winnipeg, NHL) pass 2:38 into overtime as Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 on Sunday at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon, Sask./Philadelphia, NHL) and Kevin Bieksa (Grimsby, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) scored in regulation for Canada. Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alb./Oilers, NHL) made 30 saves in the win.

Joakim Lindstrom and Linus Klasen had staked Sweden to a 2-0 lead 21 minutes in. Nilsson stopped 28 shots in the loss.

Canada’s overtime victory left the countries tied atop Group A with one preliminary round game left for each.

Canada has played Sweden more than any other opponent at this tournament; Sunday was the 64th meeting between the two, with Canada now holding a 33-26-5 edge.

“We’re both skilled teams and play a similar style, so it’s always a good battle,” said Nazem Kadri (London, Ont./Toronto, NHL). “The wins and losses go back and for, so I think that’s a huge part of [the rivalry].”

Sweden boasted the event’s No. 1 penalty kill (95 per cent), and its special teams escaped unscathed after back-to-back minors halfway through the first.

Eighteen seconds after killing the latter penalty, Sweden scored. Lindstrom, taking advantage of a Canadian turnover in the defensive zone, skated in and saw his backhand go under Scrivens’ arm and trickle in.

Canada’s best chance at equalizing early came when Jonathan Huberdeau (St-Jérôme, Que./Florida, NHL) was awarded a penalty shot. Huberdeau, doing his best Peter Forsberg impression, tried to guide a one-handed backhand into the corner of the net, but Nilsson got enough of his glove on the puck to steer it wide.

Sweden doubled its lead 1:06 into the second. Gustav Nyquist sent a pass out front to Klasen, who beat Scrivens high to the stick side from the slot.

Canada cut the lead in half minutes later, when a goal-crashing Schenn found the puck first in a crowded crease.

“It was definitely a momentum swing,” said Kadri. “We controlled most of the second period after that. We’re not going to shy away when we get down one or two goals. We have enough talent to be able to battle back and tie it.”

And four minutes later they did. With only eight seconds left on the power play, Bieksa’s slap shot from the point beat Nilsson low.

Canada surrendered 32 shots on net, a number it knows it needs to keep down moving forward.

“I think our game has been good,” said Kadri, “but when you advance to the medal rounds, it has to be better. We want to take some pressure off our goaltenders and make it as easy on them as possible.”

 

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