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Photo Credit: Hockey Canada

World Junior Summer Showcase: Canada vs Sweden

After a day off, we return to Plymouth, Michigan for some more World Junior Summer Showcase action.Today features two contests with the first game having Canada take on Sweden. The Canucks were well represented with three 2017 draft picks dressing for the game.

Prospect Michael DiPietro with the start for today’s contest, while 2nd round pick Kold Lind was on that second line for Canada. Elias Pettersson was moved to centre for this game after playing the other games on the wing.

Team Canada’s roster was as follows:

Image: Adam Kimelman / Twitter

While Sweden dressed the following squad:

Image: Adam Kimelman / Twitter

2018 Draft Eligible Rasmus Dahlin did not dress again today due to illness.

First Period

The Swedish mobile defence has a knack for getting themselves out trouble and creating transition through their ability to hold onto the puck. Erik Brannstrom and Timothy Liljegren are the most noticeable at this and continue to impress at this tournament.

Brannstrom received quite a bit of praise from TSN’s Craig Button throughout the first period, and rightfully so. The 5’9″ defender has a particular play where he identified Matthew Phillips as a threat, wheeled back towards his zone, pivoted, lost the check and went down the ice.

That type of play is something that Brannstrom does all the time with incredible efficiency. He is able to quickly identify his threats and use his elite skating abilities to lose them. He was a shot generating machine at the U18 tournament in April and it feels like the sky is the limit for him.

Sweden opened the scoring at the 11:47 mark of the first period as Linus Hogberg’s shot was blocked and drifted towards Leafs prospect Timothy Liljegren. His wrist shot ended up in the top corner after passing through multiple screens. It appears to have been tipped by Kole Lind at the point.

There were no more notable chances until Canada got themselves on the board with the following play:

Steel has an open net to pot the tieing goal after a great passing play. Steel ripped up the WHL this past season and has a good chance to secure a spot on the 2018 World Junior Team.

Sweden outshot Canada 10-8 in the opening frame and was unable to score in the 27 seconds of powerplay before the end of the period. Canada did not have the man advantage during the first period.

Second Period

Sweden started the middle frame with the man advantage but was taken off it when Gustav Lindstrom took a high sticking penalty after losing the puck to an oncoming Canadian forward. Team Canada went to work:

Kyrou has been a player to keep an eye on since falling to the second round in the 2016 draft. Plays like that are what is going to make him succesful. Driving the net with speed and skill.

Shortly after that:

Prior to the goal from Ang, Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nick Suzuki had a nice play on the Swedish defenceman and forcing the turnover. This allowed Ang get space to get some speed and lean into his wrist shot. The Florida Panthers fourth round pick has speed to burn and displayed it throughout the period.

Team Canada head that 3-1 lead for a couple of minutes before HK71 teammates Lias Andersson and Erik Brannstrom linked up to cut into the lead.

Michael Dipietro was replaced by Carter Hart at 11:52 of the second period. Unfortunately, Sweden scored on their first shot with this nice goal:

The rest of the period didn’t have any other notable plays.

For the second period in a row, Sweden outshot Canada 10-8. Sweden ended the second period going 1/3 on the powerplay and Canada capitalized on their only man advantage with the Kyrou tally.

Third Period

The third period had a noticeable increase in tempo with both teams pressing to create offence. Sweden was able to grab the lead early in the third.

Although not awarded an assist on the play, Elias Pettersson originally chipped the puck up to Karlstrom who then moved it to Bratt.

After that, Canada ran away with it. It started with Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar pinching in and scoring off the Steel pass:

A few minutes after that, Sweden ran into some penalty trouble, eventually giving Canada a 5-3 powerplay:

Great puck movement and offensive awareness led to Kyrou getting his second of the game. Canada held that led until the 14:23 mark when Winnipeg Jets prospect Logan Stanley was given a gift.

Calgary Flames prospect scored on the empty net to give Canada a 7-4 win.

Sweden outshot Canada 30-26. Canada went 2/3 on the powerplay and Sweden ended 1/5.

Notes

  • Canucks prospect Michael Dipietro is in a battle to secure one of the goaltending spots, but he has shown well in his two appearances. Both goals weren’t his fault, the first goal being a seeing eye shot that hit a stick and passed through multiple screens and the second was a great play. Obviously, there is a lot of time left until the tournament gets under way, but DiPietro has left a good impression.
  • Kole Lind saw limited ice time throughout the game. He was a late add to the camp and is still an extreme long shot to make the team. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as it’s summer hockey and even being invited is a good sign. At this point, it’s all a learning process from him.
  • Jordan Kyrou appeared to be a man on the mission today – ending the game with 2 goals, 1 assist, and 5 SOG. Driving the net, creating offence and drawing penalties. He was someone who intrigued me for the 2016 draft and has only gotten better since. If he continues to do what he has done this week, he will force himself onto this team and continue an upwards trajectory in terms of NHL prospect rankings.
  • Sam Steel also had a good game. He was dominant in the WHL last year and appears to have his eyes set on a spot with Canada. He has a great ability to control the puck, using his body and skating to protect the puck. Great offensive awareness that creates plays.
  • Elias Pettersson had an okay game today but he really wasn’t able to display his skillset too well.
  • Cale Makar was a bit of a wild ride today. His offensive abilities have always been noticeable but the step up in competition is showing. He didn’t have any gaffes but was a little behind at times in the defensive zone. He was always going to be a long term project and did well to adapt throughout the game.

Sweden and Finland (1 pm PT) meet tomorrow, while Canada and the USA (4 pm PT) play. Both games will be on TSN.

Full stats for the game can be found here.

  • Some general observations:

    Team Sweden has a lot of players named Bauhaus. Just kidding. Put the kids name on the jersey.

    Team Canada plays a much more physical game compared to Sweden. I know what Jim Benning meant with North American heart and European skill. He knows.

    Team Sweden is long and lanky, team Canada has some big physical kids. Boy in a man’s body.

    Pettersson didn’t stand out either way, good or bad.

    Cal Foote has his dad’s nose. Perhaps a nose for the net.