This game had a little bit of everything: A superb goaltending performance, powerplay after powerplay, a bad line change being the difference, a too many men penalty with under 2 minutes to go….
It took just 22 seconds for the first penalty of the game to be called and the Americans would hold the early advantage, but could not convert. That would be the story of this contest.
When the period was all said and done, the Americans would have 3 powerplays to the Swedes’ 2.
But the story of the opening frame was Swedish netminder Linus Soderstrom who faced 17 shots and stopped them all. His American counterpart. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 8 shots he faced.
Just 2:41 into the second, we had our only goal of the game. Sweden’s Dymytro Timoshov headed towards the American blue line with Alexander Nylander. American defenceman Nick Schmaltz, who was covering Nylander, decided to head for a line change and left the Swedish sniper uncovered.
Nylander broke in all alone on Nedeljkovic and roofed it over the goaltender for what proved to be the game winning goal.
The American’s would once again have three powerplays to the Swede’s two in the period but it was evident that it was going to take a miracle to beat Soderstrom on this day. The Americans would outshoot the Swedes 22-8.
But it was during a 1:12 two man advantage that Soderstrom was at his best. At least two spectacular saves kept the Americans off the scoreboard.
It was more of the same in the third period. The Americans dominated during the first half, but the Swedes came on in the second half.
With the Americans ready to push for the equalizer, Nedeljkovic tried to get the attention of head coach Ron Wilson and headed to the bench. As Sweden gained control in their own zone, Nedeljkovic hesitated and went back towards his goal as the extra attacker had jumped over the boards.
The Americans would be called for too many men on the ice. Any chance of a comeback was put to rest when Matthew Tkachuk took a needless high sticking penalty directly in front of the Swede goal.
Not surprisingly, Soderstrom was named the player of the game. Zach Werenski was player of the game for the USA.