BRECLAV, Czech Republic — Sweden scored three straight goals en route to a 4-3 win over Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 men’s hockey tournament on Tuesday.
Jared McCann opened the scoring for Canada at 3:14 of the first period before Sweden countered with three straight — including two from Kevin Elgestal — to take a 3-1 advantage into the third.
Sam Bennett’s power-play goal at 3:54 of the third pulled Canada (1-1) to within 3-2 but Sweden’s Michael Nylander Altelius countered with the man advantage at 6:09. Spencer Watson added another power-goal at 8:01 but that’s as close as the defending champion Canadians could get.
Robin Kovacs had the other goal for Sweden (1-1) against their Group A rival.
Canadian coach Dale Hunter said his squad dug itself in a hole it could never get out of.
“We didn’t come out well and got down 3-1,” said Hunter, the head coach of the OHL’s London Knights. “Against good teams like Sweden if you get down 3-1 it’s tough to come back.
“But we didn’t quit. We had good scoring chances to tie it up but couldn’t get one by the goalie.”
Swedish starter Jesper Eriksson left the game at 6:51 of the third with a suspected broken leg when a Canadian player slid into him after being tripped. Sweden’s Gustav Frosling received the tripping minor on the play.
That forced backup Linus Soderstrom into the game but he only allowed Watson’s power-play goal.
“He (Soderstrom) played very well,” Hunter said. “He made some big stops.”
Canada opened the tournament Monday with a 4-0 win over the Czech Republic while Sweden’s first game was a 3-2 loss to Switzerland. Fortunately for the Canadians, they don’t have time to worry about the loss as they face the Swiss on Wednesday in another Group A showdown.
“In our first two games we cycled the puck well and got pucks to the net,” Hunter said. “We had our chances, we just have to bury them.
“We gave up four goals (versus Sweden) and have to tighten up defensively.”