Looking like a winner
Canada sends strong message with 6-0 blanking of Sweden
But the boys in red passed with flying colours, controlling the play from the first puck drop and scoring six goals while surrendering none in a 6-0 victory.
Connor McDavid scored a hat trick, while Zach Natasiuk, Morgan Klimchuk, and Nick Ritchie each had a goal as Canada seized the top seed in Group B from the Swedes.
"We just wanted to play our style of game, and getting the first goal I thought was a really positive thing for us," said head coach Don Hay. "It gave us the ability to push pucks down the boards and be strong down low, and as the game went on we got stronger and stronger in that area."
The troubles began early on for the Swedes, as a kneeing penalty was called on defenceman Victor Crus Rydberg 45 seconds into the game. With Rydberg in the box, Madison Bowey threw the puck on net from the top of the Swedish zone. It was deflected nicely in front by McDavid for Canada’s first goal of the game.
Canada was in control for most of the period, dominating the faceoff circle early on and not allowing the Swedes much time with the puck. Even with three consecutive power plays following McDavid’s goal, Sweden was unable to put any serious pressure on Canadian goaltender Philippe Desrosiers.
Samuel Bennett got his team up 2-0 early in the second period, taking the puck along the boards and passing in front of the net to Zach Nastasiuk who had a wide open net to shoot into for his second goal of the tournament. His teammate Morgan Klimchuk followed up with a power play goal four minutes later, getting open to the side of the net and beating Sweden goaltender Jonas Johanson with a wrist shot, assisted by Josh Morrissey.
With just over two minutes to go in the second period, Nick Baptiste got the puck and centre ice and took off for the net on a two-on-one, passing the puck off to Nick Ritchie who fired it short side to put the Canadians up 4-0 and firmly in control of the game.
Canada’s fourth goal prompted a change in the Swedish net, as coach Rikard Gronborg substituted Johansson for Ebbe Sionas. But the result was the same, as McDavid registered his second of the game with a wraparound score and later on his third coming on the power play to bring his goal count to five on the tournament. Mcdavid now has 11 points in four games to lead all scorers at the U18 World Championship.
We looked good out there and we got a lot of confidence right now, we got to get better and better each game and I think we're doing that," said McDavid.
With the win Canada will be the top seed for Group B, and will play against the Czech Republic in Thursday’s quarter-final. Sweden will be the #2 seed from Group B, and will face the loser of the USA-Finland game.