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Sweden stuns Canada with 6-5 shootout victory

by Mike G. Morreale
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg admitted earlier in the day that he'd like nothing more than to hear the chants of "Go Canada Go" fade away by the time the third period of his team'shad ended.
He'll have to settle for the shootout round instead.
Oscar Lindberg and Anton Lander scored in the tiebreaker and goalie Robin Lehner stopped Ryan Ellis and Brayden Schenn as Sweden scored a monumental 6-5 victory against Team Canada in the final preliminary-round match of Group B at the 2011 World Junior Championship.
The victory assured Sweden (4-0-0) a bye into the semifinal round Monday. Canada (3-0-1) next will play the loser of Friday's Group A match between the United States and Switzerland on Sunday.
In what only can be considered a bit of gamesmanship by Ronnberg during his post-game press conference, the first-time WJC coach offered some interesting commentary regarding his opponent.
"I think, actually, we had some tougher games against the Czechs and the Russians, but I'm really proud coaching this team and they showed their character today, bouncing back all the time," Ronnberg said. Sweden beat Russia 2-0 on Tuesday and the Czech Republic 6-3 on Thursday.
Ronnberg then explained what Canada didn't do that the Czechs and Russians did.
"I think if we look at the scoring chances, it was tougher games against (Czech Republic and Russia) because I think they played better offensively than Canada did," he said. "We know (Canada) has a better defense. They can't be too pleased with the game they played tonight, but those games (against Czech Republic and Russia) were tougher to control. We did a good game (Friday). We controlled the ice and played good. We played puck possession and kept it outside, but it's just one game."
The physical, back-and-forth affair featured four lead changes and dazzling, end-to-end hockey. The triumph gave Sweden its third victory over Canada in 11 previous meetings, dating back to the 1998 WJC. Canada most recently had beaten Sweden in the gold-medal game at the 2008 and '09 tournaments.
Canada's Ryan Johansen, who had 3 assists in the game, felt confident entering the shootout.
"Look at the depth throughout our lineup," he said. "We got a lot of guys with a lot of good moves. But they got the bounces today. Hopefully, luck will be on our side next time."
Carl Klingberg scored a pair of goals for Sweden, and Lehner stopped 29 of 34 shots.

Curtis Hamilton scored a pair of goals for Canada.
"Everybody back home is celebrating the New Year, and it's sort of tradition watching the World Junior tournament during winter break," Klingberg, an Atlanta Thrashers prospect, said. "This is really big in Sweden. There was all this talk about beating Canada and we did, so this is really huge in Sweden.
"But we're not just happy about beating Canada. We're happy now, but we have to get the win in semifinals; that's what we'll try to focus on (Saturday)."

Sweden pulled into a 5-5 tie with 8:17 left in the third on a beautifully placed rising shot by Patrick Cehlin off a rush down left wing. His shot flew over the right shoulder of Canada goalie Olivier Roy, who for the second time in the game dropped into a butterfly well before the shot was taken.
Canada coach Dave Cameron didn't reveal his starting goalie for Sunday's quarterfinal-round match, admitting he'd have to "sit back and evaluate." Roy, who was making his third start of the tournament, stopped 36 of 42 shots.
"Maybe going to shootout (there was a little pressure), but I like shootouts," Roy said. "I felt good going in, and usually, more often, we end up with a win. That's what's most disappointing. We knew the winner would have to play one game less, so that's disappointing."
Canada not only was unbeaten in shootouts in WJC competition, but also had scored on eight straight shootout attempts prior to Friday's game.
After Cehlin's goal tied the game, Canada had a chance to go back in front with 3:59 remaining in regulation when Quinton Howden gained a head of steam through the neutral zone and broke in on Lehner on a shorthanded attempt, but his shot was turned away.
"I saw an opening with the puck and tried to use my speed to get down and get across," Howden said. "It was a good save, so got to hand it to him."

Schenn added to his assault of several Canada WJC records by knocking home the rebound of  a Johansen shot on the doorstep 3:22 into the third period to give his team a 5-4 lead. His 7 goals and 14 points are tournament highs, and he's within 4 points of Dale McCourt's all-time Canada mark of 18 points in the 1977 tournament.
Sweden pulled into a 3-3 tie just 52 seconds into the second when Klingberg scored his second.

Sweden grabbed its second lead, 4-3, at 2:44 when Jesper Thornberg ripped a shot from the left circle with Canada's Erik Gudbranson providing a screen. Roy dropped early as Thornberg's shot beat him high on the short side.
Canada squared the contest on Hamilton's second of the game. Schenn made the play happen after recovering from a center-ice hit by Sweden's Max Friberg less than a minute earlier.
After shaking off the hit, which left him a little woozy at first, Schenn found himself on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break with Hamilton. Schenn waited until the last instant before backhanding a pass to Hamilton, who was putting on the brakes as the puck arrived at his feet. Although the puck deflected off Hamilton's right skate and past Lehner at 4:37, the officials ruled the goal a good one following a brief review.
A wild first period ended in shocking fashion, as Canada took a 3-2 lead with 0.5 seconds remaining in the first period on one of the strangest goals of the tournament. Following some great defensive work by Jared Cowen in his own end, Schenn got the puck and fed Johansen down the right wing. Johansen entered the zone and ripped a shot that hit the stanchion that holds the glass behind Lehner's right shoulder. The puck ricocheted in front to Hamilton, who jammed the puck past the surprised goalie.
Canada had opened the scoring just 58 seconds into the same when Sean Couturier's blast from the right wing deflected off the left leg of Swedish defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and past Lehner. Canada's Marcus Foligno was crashing the crease at the time of the goal, forcing Dahlbeck to skate hard into the paint and interfere with the puck. It was the first goal allowed by Lehner, the highly-touted Ottawa Senators prospect, in two games in the tournament -- he shut out Russia on Tuesday in his first appearance.
Sweden answered at 2:14 when Friberg showcased some fine hand-eye coordination by batting in a shot from the right hash mark.
"We want to control the game the way we play," Ronnberg said. "We want to have the puck. We want to play puck possession, and we want to be a threat defensively against Canada. We don't want to be on our heels. We want to be attacking all the time, so we don't think in those terms (of crowd noise and what the opponent is doing). We play for winning."
The game remained 1-1 until 14:55 when Klingberg scored, but Canada answered 43 seconds later when Howden scored off a harmless-looking shot from the top of the left circle that was misplayed by Lehner. The puck clipped Lehner's glove but trickled through him and over the goal line at 15:38.
The first also featured a huge hit by Johansen, a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, on top 2011 Entry Draft-eligible defenseman Adam Larsson, who was belted in the high slot and thrown into his own goal post immediately after Sweden's first goal.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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