Drake Batherson one-timed a backdoor pass from Matt Barzal and scored a power-play goal in overtime, which propelled Canada to an improbable come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Sweden in the quarter-finals of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Batherson also assisted on Barzal’s tying goal with 1:23 to go in regulation time.
“It’s just the Canadian way: Never give up,” Batherson said after the game. “We’ve seen it throughout the years. We never gave up and just stuck to our game. Their goalie played great but we just kept putting pucks on net, managed to get a few bounces late and then win it in overtime.”
“I’ve seen it before,” Canadian captain Thomas Chabot said about his Ottawa Senators. “Such an awesome player, such a long way he’s coming, what a good playmaker he is; shooter he is. You’ve seen it at this tournament, I’ve seen it for years in Ottawa. I’m really happy for him. In the end we played in a manner that we should have all game long. When we do that we have a good chance to get far.”
The Canadians’ reign as World Champions looked over when they trailed 3-0 after two periods despite outshooting Sweden 28-12 in that span. Over the course of the game, Canada outshot Sweden 42-19.
“I feel like (crap),” said Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark, who had an amazing game and held the fort for as long as he could. “It’s never fun to lose in a fashion like this. I thought we had the game right where we wanted it but in the end they capitalized and the beat us. I don’t know if ‘fair and square’ is the word, but that’s just how it is.”
This marks the seventh consecutive World Championship that Canada has advanced to at least the semi-finals. The Swedes were looking for their first trip to the final four since 2018 in Denmark, when they defeated Canada in a shootout final.
“I don’t have too many good things to say to be honest,” said Swedish forward Carl Klingberg. “We’re talking a lot about playing with the lead and I think we had been doing it pretty well until we had a penalty against and broke down.
“With a 3-1 lead with two minutes left you want to win the game. It’s going to sting for a long time.”
Just past the seven-minute mark, Sweden went up 2-0. Joakim Nordstrom blocked a shot by Damon Severson and it landed right on the stick of William Nylander just inside his own blueline. Nylander quickly turned on the jets and skated in alone on Driedger, beating him over the glove and just under the crossbar.
“We’re a pretty young team and I think we were nervous in the first period,” said Canadian head coach Claude Julien. “We made some mistakes that gave them some opportunities and they took advantage. We came in after the first and made a couple of little adjustments, and then our guys seemed to settle down.”
Canada’s attempts to climb back into it were stalled in the first period by a pair of minor penalties. Canadians came out hard to start the second period, had some sustained pressure in the Swedish zone and got the period’s first six shots on Ullmark.
However, against the run of play, the Swedes got their first scoring chance of the period and Max Friberg hit the goalpost. Later on the same shift, Friberg scored to make it 3-0. Stationed in front of the net, he got his stick on an Erik Gustafsson shot from the point and deflected it past Driedger.
It was the only official shot on goal that was credited to Sweden in the middle frame. At the other end of the ice, Ullmark stopped all 19 directed his way. Canada’s best chance to score in the first two periods came late in its only power play, when Ullmark scrambled to stop a barrage of shots, finally holding and freezing a Batherson one-timer. Ullmark also made a big save on a Dylan Cozens shorthanded attempt after a turnover.
“Between the second and the third in the intermission we talked in the room and we knew we could do it,” said Chabot. “We put so many pucks to the net, we knew that at some point, some were going to go in.”
In the second minute of the third period, Canada finally broke through when Ryan Graves’ floater from the point went through a crowd and beat Ullmark on the short side.
“That first goal really gave us some life. Then we just kept plugging away,” said Julien.
Canada continued pushing, trying to get closer, but Ullmark was in the zone. Midway through the third, Adam Lowry had a great chance from the slot but the Swedish goalie made an unbelievable blocker save, from which he needed a moment to recover after the whistle.
With 3:52, the Canadians went to the power play when Rasmus Dahlin shot the puck over the glass. Driedger went to the bench for a sixth attacker with 2:20 to go for a 6-on-4 advantage, and with just one second left in the power play, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a one-timer to make it a one-goal game with 1:53 to go.
With Driedger going back to the bench after the faceoff at centre ice, Canada went back to the attack and exactly 30 seconds later the game was tied. Barzal’s backhander somehow made it through a forest in front of the net untouched until it got to Ullmark. The Boston Bruins goalie got most of it, but the puck trickled through and barely across the goal line before Ullmark could rescue it with the glove.
“Trying to believe you can score a goal, then you get that one to make it 3-2 then tie it up and get to overtime,” said defenceman Damon Severson. “It was just one of those days when we knew we were going to get it done. We had a good feeling. We’re a confident group. We know there’s there periods to play for a reason and extra time if necessary.”
Nylander was called for tripping 25 seconds into overtime, and with the momentum all on their side, that was the opening the Canadians needed. DuBois down low to Barzal at the top of the circle, to Batherson at the backdoor. Ullmark had been brilliant, but he had no chance on the winner. Batherson quickly fired into the open side and that was it.
Canada is moving on.