SWEDES BLANK CANADA WHITE, ADVANCE TO U17 SEMIFINALS
JASON LA ROSE
SARNIA, Ont. – Filip Gustavsson was terrific, turning aside all 35 shots he faced to help Sweden shut out Canada Red 2-0 on Thursday night and move into the semifinals at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Swedes will meet the unbeaten United States in Friday’s semifinals; the Americans knocked off Sweden 6-3 on Sunday in the opening preliminary round game for both in Lambton Shores, Ont.
Linus Lindström and Lias Andersson had the goals for Sweden, scoring 1:36 apart in the second period.
Samuel Harvey (Alma, Que./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) was the hard-luck loser in the Canada White goal, finishing with 22 saves.
The Canadians controlled the play right off the opening face-off, coming close twice before 60 seconds had come off the clock. But, as he would be all night, Gustavsson was up to challenge.
Sweden held an 11-9 advantage in shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, helped out by a trio of power plays, although Harvey and the Canadian penalty kill kept the game scoreless into the first intermission.
Canada Red continued to pressure in the second, outshooting the Swedes 10-5 in the middle frame, but Lindström finally broke through at 13:20, circling out of the corner and snapping a shot low past Harvey.
Andersson doubled the lead at 14:56, finding a loose puck at the side of the Canadian net and beating Harvey from a sharp angle, giving the Swedes a 2-0 advantage through 40 minutes.
The third period was all about Gustavsson; the Swedish netminder made 16 of his 35 saves in the final 20 minutes, constantly keeping the Canadians at bay, and clinching Sweden’s third trip to the semifinals in the last four years.
Canada Red didn’t have much opportunity to do damage on special teams; the Swedes took just a single penalty, a too many men on the ice call in the first period.
The Canadians will travel to Lambton Shores on Friday night to face Canada Red in an all-Canadian fifth-place game at The Shores Recreation Centre (7 p.m. ET).