Sweden faced Denmark in the first game of the tournament and defeated the Danes 6-1. Sweden’s lineup of 16-to-18 year-olds is one of the strongest in the WJC.
The Swedes had a strong first period, scoring in both the middle and ends of the period. Alexander Nylander, Buffalo Sabres prospect currently playing for the Rochester Americans, scored the first goal, which was unassisted.
Just as the first period was wrapping up, Joel Eriksson-Ek, of the Minnesota Wild (currently on loan to Färjestad BK of the SHL) scored to bring Sweden to a 2-0 lead. Eriksson-Ek’s goal was assisted by 16-year-old Rasmus Dahlin and Oliver Kylington of the Stockton Heat.
The second period solidified Sweden’s lead. Jonathan Dahlen, a second-round pick for the Ottawa Senators scored a little over 4 minutes into the second period, assisted by Carl Grundström, a Maple Leafs prospect, and Lucas Carlsson, a Chicago Blackhawks prospect.
Shortly after Dahlen’s goal, Jacob Larsson, Anaheim Ducks defenseman on loan to Frölunda HC, had a two-minute penalty for high sticking that resulted in Grundström scoring a short-handed goal. Grundström’s goal was unassisted.
Rasmus Dahlin brought Sweden up to a 5-0 lead in the 33rd minute of the game with a goal assisted by Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Gabriel Carlsson.
Nylander ended the period tallying his second goal of the game, assisted by Philadelphia Flyers prospect, David Bernhardt, and Eriksson-Ek. Nylander’s goal was the last goal scored for Sweden.
Denmark got one point on the board just as the third period came to a close. Nikolaj Krag, assisted by Jonas Rondbjerg, kept Sweden from shutting out the Danes.
Swedish goaltender Felix Sandstrom, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, finished the game with a 95.45% save percentage, blocking 21 of the 22 shots on goal.
Sweden will face Switzerland on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 5pm EST.
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