SPISSKA NOVA VES, Slovakia – Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) made 27 saves, but Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team had its run at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship come to an end with a 7-3 quarter-final loss to Sweden on Thursday.
Matthew Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Hamilton, OHL), MacKenzie Entwistle (Georgetown, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) and Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) scored for the Canadians, who missed out on the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
A back-and-forth first period appeared to be headed to the intermission scoreless before Fabian Zetterlund jumped on a turnover in the Canadian zone and beat Scott with just three seconds left in the opening frame.
Strome got that back two minutes into the second, banking a shot in off Swedish netminder Adam Ahman from behind the goal-line, but Oskar Back restored the Swedish lead midway through the period.
After Jacob Olofsson beat Scott for a 3-1 advantage at 13:34, Entwistle wired a quick wrist shot past Ahman on the glove side just 64 seconds later to once again pull the Canadians within a goal.
But Emil Bemstrom capitalized on a late-period power play, scoring with 22 ticks remaining to send the Scandinavians to the final frame with a two-goal lead.
Canada needed a big period to keep its medal hopes alive, but instead found itself down 6-2 after Olofsson scored his second of the game at 4:20, and Erik Brannstrom beat Scott just over four minutes later.
Comtois got one back for the Canadians with just under six minutes to go, jamming the puck past Ahman after a scramble in the Swedish crease, but Isac Lundestrom hit the empty net with 2:07 to go and Scott on the bench to clinch the win.
Entwistle finished as Canada’s leading scorer, netting four goals and adding three assists in five games.
He, Jett Woo (Winnipeg, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL) and Stelio Mattheos (Winnipeg, Man./Brandon, WHL) were named Canada’s top three players, as chosen by the Canadian coaching staff.
“We are disappointed we couldn’t bring home the gold for Canada but I am very proud of the player’s effort throughout the tournament. I would also like to thank my fellow coaches and our support staff for their tireless work throughout our time together.”
– Darren Rumble (Barrie, Ont./Moncton, QMJHL)