Canada completed the Qualifying Round at the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia on a winning note, riding to a 3-2 win over perennial powers Sweden on a Rick Nash power play game winner to advance into the Quarterfinals with the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
James Neal broke the affair open just 68 seconds into regulation, being sprung on a breakaway from a Jason Spezza pass off the side boards, beating Swedish goalie Erik Ersberg five-hole to put Canada ahead 1-0. But, following a Brent Burns interference call, Sweden would equalize two and a half minutes later, when David Petrasek knocked in a huge rebound off Canadian keeper Jonathsn Bernier, following a Carl Gunnarsson point shot, that beat a diving Bernier to tie things at 1-1. John Tavares would have the final say in the period, however, controversially knocking the puck loose from Ersberg’s glove and into the goal, prompting a review to ensure Erbserg did not maintain full possession – the goal was allowed, and Canada headed to intermission ahead 2-1.
Sweden would tie things up midway through the second, striking again on the powerplay – with Tavares in the box for hooking, Mattias Tedenby, parked at the side of the net, knocked in a chip shot on a Jakob Silfverberg pass to fool Bernier and even things up at 2-2. That score would hold through the second intermission, and midway through the third, until Nash converted Canada’s first successful power play, deflecting a Burns point shot over Ersberg’s glove and in to take the 3-2 lead. Unable to beat Bernier, and stuck with two consecutive penalties in the final three and half minutes of the game, Sweden was unable to gain an extra attacker and even things up, giving Canada the 3-2 decision.
With the win, Canada wins their fourth straight in their current and 56th overall reign with the International Hockey Lineal Championship, defeating the United States and Norway after winning the title from Switzerland on May 3. Canada last faced Sweden, who they meet over the IHLC for the 58th time, for the first time since the 2007 World Championships in Moscow, retaining the IHLC in a 4-1 Semifinal victory en route to their eventual Gold Medal. Canada now advances to the Medal Round with the IHLC in tow, first facing Russia in the Quarterfinals with a trip to the final four at stake.
01:08 – GOAL – Neal (Spezza)
03:12 – PEN – Burns, interference
03:43 – PP GOAL – Petrasek (Gunnarsson, Pääjärvi)
08:32 – PEN – Persson, hooking
11:18 – PEN – Eriksson, tripping
13:20 – GOAL – Tavares (Skinner, Stewart)
14:27 – PEN – Duchene, tripping
22:12 – PEN – Petrasek, hooking
30:20 – PEN – Tavares, hooking
30:38 – PP GOAL – Tedenby (Silfverberg, Krüger)
31:45 – PEN – Rundblad, hooking
34:55 – PEN – Eberle, slashing
38:19 – PEN – Nash, charging
39:41 – PEN – Petrasek, hooking
44:07 – PEN – Neal, slashing
52:04 – PEN – Persson, tripping
52:31 – PP GOAL – Nash (Burns, Neal)
55:06 – PEN – Burns, roughing
56:34 – PEN – Krüger, slashing
58:15 – PEN – Petrasek, slashing
W: Bernier (23-25)
L: Ersberg (40-43)
SHOTS ON GOAL
17+11+15 = 43
6+9+10 = 25
Goaltenders: Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer. Defence: Brent Burns, Carlo Colaiacovo, Marc-André Gragnani, Marc Methot, Dion Phaneuf, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn. Forwards: Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Rick Nash (C), James Neal, Jeff Skinner, Jason Spezza (A), Chris Stewart, John Tavares, Antoine Vermette, Travis Zajac (A).
Goaltenders: Erik Ersberg, Anders Nilsson. Defence: Tim Erixon, Daniel Fernholm, Carl Gunnarsson, Staffan Kronwall, David Petrasek (A), David Rundblad. Forwards: Mikael Backlund, Patrik Berglund (A), Jimmie Ericsson, Loui Eriksson, Andreas Jämtin, Marcus Krüger, Robert Nilsson, Magnus Pääjärvi, Niklas Persson, Jakob Silfverberg, Mattias Sjögren, Mattias Tedenby, Martin Thörnberg, Rickard Wallin (C).