JASON LA ROSE
WINNIPEG, Man. – David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) scored early in the third period to complete a comeback from a three-goal deficit, but a late goal left Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team on the short end of a 4-3 decision against Sweden on Tuesday night.
The game was the second of two for Canada ahead of the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship; it earned a 7-1 win over the Czech Republic Sunday, and will next head south to Grand Forks, N.D., for the U18 worlds.
Mason Shaw (Wainwright, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) and Michael Rasmussen (South Surrey, B.C./Tri-City, WHL) had the other goals for the Canadians, while William Bitten (Ottawa, Ont./Flint, OHL) added two assists.
Canada started out slowly, falling behind early on a Timothy Liljegren power play goal just 2:38 in.
The Swedes doubled, and then tripled, their advantage in the second period; Axel Jonsson Fjällby beat Canadian netminder Stuart Skinner (Edmonton, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) three minutes into the middle frame, and Marcus Davidsson made it 3-0 at 8:40.
Canadian head coach Shaun Clouston (Viking, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) called a time-out after the Davidsson goal and his team responded with two goals in the final six minutes of the period to get back into the game,
Shaw got Canada on the board at 14:17 on the power play, set up by Jakob Chychrun (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) and Pascal Laberge (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL), and Rasmussen pulled the Canadians within one just 1:26 later, sending the game to the intermission at 3-2.
Quenneville struck on another Canadian man advantage 1:44 into the third period, bringing Canada all the way back to even.
The Canadians dominated the third period, outshooting Sweden 16-7 in the final 20 minutes, but the Swedes got the winner late; Oskar Steen beat Skinner with only 1:36 to go.
Overall, Canada finished with a 40-29 advantage in shots on goal.
The Canadians open the U18 worlds against Denmark on Friday in Grand Forks (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
“We dug ourselves a tough hole, down 3-0, but we started to hit and make smarter pinches and just play a smarter game. We were moving the puck a little quicker, skating a lot faster than we had in the first half of the game. We started doing the little things and pucks started going in for us. I think, now we know what can happen if we don’t get the start we want and that’s something to keep in mind going forward in the tournament.”
–David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL)
“That’s why you play a couple of exhibition games, we had a totally different look tonight, a different style of play and we can always learn from each game. You can learn from the win, we did a lot of good things there; we can learn from this one as well. There were things we needed to do early on in this game that we didn’t establish and it took a lot to claw back into it and I give the guys credit for sticking together and working together as hard as they did in the last half.”
–Shaun Clouston, head coach, Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team