Canada goes top of group with 10-2 win over Sweden

MONTREAL, QC – Team Canada’s Men’s Hockey Team continued their dominance at the Lake Placid 2023 Winter World University Games in Canton, New York, with a 10-2 victory over Sweden while outshooting the Swedes 76-9.

With the win, Canada vaults itself atop Group A with a perfect 2-0-0 record and a goal differential of +13. 

Canada dominated from the opening faceoff and once again displayed their ability to control games with speed, excellent puck movement, great passing, ability to get pucks to the net, and ability to capitalize on the chances they create.

Manitoba’s Brett Davis potted a hat-trick, and StFX’s Liam Hawel scored a pair, while Canada also filled up the scoresheet with single goals from Jacob Paquette, Jared Dmytriw, Tyler Hylland, TJ Shea, and Andrew Coxhead. 

Canada fired on all cylinders offensively and got production from all four lines. StFX’s Liam Hawel said the key to their success is getting all four lines involved early and often.

“It’s better when you have all four lines playing full energy and full speed and when you have everyone going it’s super hard to beat and compete with,” Hawel said. “We don’t give them a lot of space to move or get out of their end and it shows,” 

They played a near-perfect game defensively, making it difficult for Sweden to enter the offensive zone to create scoring chances and get pucks on net.

Canada took an early 1-0 lead after Hawel scored on a well-executed tic-tac-toe play that was set up by accurate passes from Jonathan Yantsis and Austen Keating.

Hawel finished the game with two goals and one assist and attributed Team Canada’s success to the team’s talent and depth.

“All 13 forwards are flying, and all the [defencemen] are buzzing, I think it’s just how we play as a unit. We are all over the puck; we dominate the offensive zone,” he said. “We come in waves, and [our] shots and [offensive] zone shifts pile up… if we play like that, we’re going to be hard to beat.”

Canada’s stellar puck movement and their accurate cross-ice and stretch passes were critical in creating scoring chances and played a key role in several Canadian goals. 

Canada controlled the possession in the offensive zone thanks partly to their success in the faceoff circle and created several quality scoring chances by moving the puck around and creating open shooting lanes for their players. 

Canada’s sustained offensive pressure paid off and they added to their lead after Concordia’s Tyler Hylland buried a rebound created by Matthew Struthers’ point shot. 

Canada outshot Sweden 20-2 through the first 15 minutes. However, Sweden’s Frederik Naas cut Canada’s lead in half on his team’s third shot on goal that came from a counter-attack on the man advantage. 

Despite being in the offensive zone nearly the entire period, forcing Sweden to sit back and defend, Canada led 2-1 after 20 minutes despite outshooting their opponents 26-3. 

Hawel said the team was not worried that it was a one-goal game despite their offensive dominance.

“I don’t think we gripped the sticks at all. We saw [26] shots in the period which is great [three] against is even better so I think if you stick to that all three periods, it’s going to be pretty hard to lose. … We’re focused on outworking them every shift and wearing them down,” Hawel said.

Despite conceding 10 goals, Swedish netminder Elias Sandholm played well for the first 25 minutes, conceding only two goals to a talented Canadian offence and making 23 shots on 26 shots faced in the first period.

Brett Davis complimentary of Swedish goalie

Canada’s Davis complimented Sandholm’s game, noting it wasn’t easy to put one past him in the first period. 

“He’s a good goaltender. He stopped a lot of shots tonight, definitely got a lot of shots on him,” Davis said. “He plays an aggressive game so we were just looking to get as much traffic on net as we can and get in his eyes. It turned out to be a pretty good night for us.”

Canada’s potent offence really started wearing down Sweden’s defence in the second period, capitalizing on their mistakes and turnovers, which resulted in four goals in just over 11 minutes to build a 6-1 lead heading into the third period. Canada added four more in the third period.

After a sustained period in the attacking zone where Canada dominated possession and created numerous scoring chances using their puck control and playmaking, they took a 3-1 lead eight minutes into the second period thanks to their brilliant puck movement. 

Saskatchewan’s Jared Dmytriw buried his first goal of the game off crisp, accurate passes from defenseman Justin Bergeron and goaltender Kai Edmonds.

Canada expanded their lead to 4-1 late in the second period after UPEI’s TJ Shea forced an offensive zone turnover and skated through a pair of defenders to create an open shooting lane before wiring a powerful wrist shot past Sandholm. 

Less than 15 seconds later, Canada took a comfortable four-goal lead thanks to a nice one-timer goal from Davis, his first of three goals in the game, from a cross-ice pass from Dmytriw.

“We’re getting the feel of how we play together as a line and I think we’re building chemistry and the more we play together the better we’re going to get,” Davis said.

Sweden got a pair in the final frame to cut Canada’s lead to four with a well-placed goal by Adrian Larsson. However, it’s as far as they could claw back as Canada scored their way to the 10-2 win. 

Led by head coach Gardiner MacDougall, Team Canada will look to improve to 3-0-0 when they take on Team Japan at Roos House at SUNY-Canton on Jan. 15 at 9:30 am ET.

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