PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – The streak is over. Canada lost its first game at the U20 World Championship in 20 tries in dramatic fashion as Tobias Forsberg scored with just seven seconds left in the game to lift Sweden to the 4-3 win.
With the win, Sweden is in pole position to take first place in the A Group, but must still face the Czech Republic to secure the top spot. Meanwhile, Canada has to hope for the Czech Republic win to keep its hopes alive for first place in the group.
It was a low-scoring affair for the first 40 minutes with Canada netting the only goal of the first 40 minutes. But then the teams erupted in the third with six combined goals. Shawn Matthias made it a 2-0 Canada advantage early in the third. But then Sweden sparked to life, netting three straight goals in a four-minute span to take the 3-2 lead. The flurry included two power-play tallies and saw three different Swedes score.
With 3:42 left in the game Canada’s Claude Giroux tied the game with a five-on-three goal. It looked like the game was headed to overtime when Forsberg struck with the game-winner.
Both teams were unbeaten entering the game. With the win, Sweden now has nine points in the group with one game against the Czech Republic remaining. Should the Czechs win that game and Canada also grab three points against winless Denmark, the group would end with three teams having nine points - and three points each in their head-to-head ranking.
It was clear from the first puck drop that a lot was on the line in the game as both teams played a very controlled, yet competitive, game. It took nearly the entire first period for the first goal to come, which Brad Marchand scored with 55 seconds left. The teams were scoreless through the next 20 minutes until the third period drama started.
The win keeps things wide open for the top three spots. Had Canada won tonight, they would have secured first place in the group.