ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden – Connor Zary (Saskatoon, Sask./Kamloops, WHL) scored twice, but a late goal left Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team with a back-and-forth 4-3 loss to Sweden in its semifinal Saturday at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The Canadians will face the United States for bronze on Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT), looking for its first medal since it won bronze in 2015.
Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, Alta./Prince George, WHL) was solid once again in the Canadian goal, finishing with 26 saves.
Both teams came out firing in the first period, combining for 23 shots, and both found the back of the net.
Philip Broberg got the Swedes on the board at 11:47, jumping into the rush after a neutral zone turnover, before Zary took a pass from Philip Tomasino (Mississauga, Ont./Niagara, OHL) at the side of the net and stuffed in a power-play goal to tie it almost five minutes later.
Alex Newhook (St. John’s, N.L./Victoria, BCHL) gave Canada its first lead of the game just 87 seconds into the second period when he corralled a bouncing puck at the top of the crease and swept the 2-1 goal past Swedish goaltender Hugo Alnefelt, but Alexander Holtz got a seeing-eye shot through traffic and behind Gauthier to send the game to the intermission tied.
The teams again traded goals midway through the third period, this time in quick succession.
Holtz got his second of the game on a Swedish power play at 9:23, redirecting in pass from Tobias Bjornfot at the side of the net, only for Zary to tuck in a wraparound for his second 3:26 later to the tie game again.
The Swedes took the lead for good with 2:31 to go when Albin Grewe outraced a Canadian defender and wired a shot upstairs on the short side past the glove of Gauthier.
Canada pushed as it looked to erase its third one-goal deficit of the game, but it couldn’t put another puck behind Alnefelt, who made 31 stops.
The Canadians outshot Sweden 34-30.
Following the game, Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Winnipeg, WHL), Newhook and Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, Sask./Brandon, WHL) were named Canada’s top three players for the tournament, as selected by the coaches.
Canada vs. United States (bronze medal game) – Sunday, April 28 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT
TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcast partners, are broadcasting 15 and 12 games, respectively, including all of Team Canada’s match-ups at the IIHF U18 World Championship, all quarter-finals, both semifinals and the bronze and gold medal games.
“This game is cruel sometimes and the effort does not match the result you were looking for. We could not use our depth to our advantage, due to the number of penalties we took, and it cost us. We will get up and prepare to play a talented American team with an opportunity to bring home a medal for our country – that has to motivate us.”
– Head coach Brett Gibson (Gananoque, Ont./Queen’s University, OUA) on the semifinal loss
“It’s a tough one. I think we played a hard game, we just got caught in penalty trouble and that cost us at the end. We gave it our best effort. We have tomorrow to look forward to. Bronze medal games are always hard to get ready for, but it’s still a big one for us, especially against the U.S.”
– Jamieson Rees (Hamilton, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) on his team’s performance and regrouping for the bronze medal game