Sweden got off to a winning start in the opening match of this year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, beating the USA by a 6-1 score in a physical game in Břeclav.
Penalties: 13:4, plus Albin Eriksson 5+20 vražení na hrazení. PP goals: 0:4. SH goals: 0:1.
Referees: Hejduk, Pražák – Kotlík, Rampír. Attendance: 523.
A better start from Sweden saw them on the front foot for most of the opening period, with a couple of scoring chances early on. The USA though responded, a couple of bravely blocked shots getting the bench excited as the team killed an early Swedish powerplay. Despite the Swedes’ dominance it was the USA who eventually took the lead - Phillipe Lapointe with the shot from the slot at 14:23 to put the Americans ahead. A scramble in front of the USA crease on the buzzer resulted in some pushing and shoving, with minors handed out at the teams headed to the locker rooms.
After a tight first period, the middle session was anything but. A lot of penalties called opened up more space on the ice, with the USA on the wrong end of the majority of the calls. An early breakaway gave Lapointe the chance to double his tally, but he couldn’t find the five-hole. The Americans did, however, get a great chance to extend their lead - Sweden´s Albin Eriksson ejected, five plus game on a boarding call, but the men in blue were unable to take any advantage. That was something they´d regret not long later - 33:26 on the clock when Lukas Wernblom tied things up for the Swedes. The Americans again went on the PP shortly after, but not only came up short again but conceded: Marcus Westfalt skating through alone to slot home on the breakaway shorthanded and put his side ahead for the first time in the game. At the period ticked down, things got worse for the USA - Samuel Fagemo extended the Swedes lead with 1:12 to play, and then then Filip Johansson lit the lamp 21 seconds later to make it 4-1 after two periods.
The opening 10 minutes of the third period saw no scoring, Sweden with one powerplay but unable to make the advantage count. The game became a little more scrappy as both sides appeared to tire. Wernblom struck again on a later powerplay to make the score 5-1, and on another advantage Fagemo also struck again with 37 seconds to plaz, and make it 6-1, which is how it finished.