Chilliwack fans were treated to high-calibre hockey Saturday night at Prospera Centre as Sweden and Denmark’s national junior teams faced off at Prospera Centre.
Part of the Lordco Road to the World Juniors series, the teams used the game as a tuneup for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships that start Dec. 27 in Vancouver and Victoria.
The Swedes, a favourite to win gold in that tournament, took care of business against the heavy underdogs from Denmark, skating away with a 3-1 win.
Sweden netted the only goal of the first period, with Nils Hoglander lighting the lamp at 7:10.
Hoglander, an 18 year old who is ranked 27th overall by McKeen’s scouting service for next June’s NHL draft, took a pass from Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Filip Hallander steps inside the Denmark blueline. Swooping down the right wing and behind the Denmark net, Hoglander caught Danish keeper Mads Sogaard out of position and tucked a backhand wraparound inside the far post.
The Swedes doubled the 5:34 into period two on a nice goal by Johan Sodergran.
Credit Calgary Flames prospect Filip Sveningsson with a nice setup as he fooled a Denmark defender and slid a backhand pass into the slot for Sodergran. The Los Angeles Kings prospect threw a few stick-dekes at Sogaard before ripping the puck over the goalie’s blocker.
The Danes got back within one at 9:24 on a goal by Christoffer Gath.
Defenceman Lasse Mortensen started the play with a shot from the right point that hit traffic on its way to the net and came to Gath in the right faceoff circle.
Gath loaded up a wicked wrister, rifling the puck inside the far post behind Swedish goalie and Anaheim Ducks hopeful Olle-Eriksson Ek.
But the Swedes took no time at all to restore the two-goal lead on a goal by draft-eligible defenceman Adam Broberg. With Winnipeg Jets prospect David Gustafsson cutting through the blue paint and screening Sogaard, Broberg launched a wrister from the left point that found its way into the Denmark net.
That was the last goal of regulation time, but even though Sweden had the win through 60 minutes the teams played bonus hockey with five minutes of three-on-three overtime and a shootout.
Denmark had a great chance to score 10 seconds into OT when Jonathan Brinkman was held by Sweden’s Erik Brannstrom (Las Vegas Golden Knights) in the goal-mouth. Brinkman was awarded a penalty shot, but couldn’t cash in as Eriksson-Ek made the save.
Sweden ended overtime seconds later.
Las Vegas Golden Knights prospect Lucas Elvenes skated down the left wing and flipped the puck right to Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Rasmus Sandin, who fed a pass across the slot to Jacob Olofsson. The Montreal Canadiens prospect rifled the puck past Sogaard for the fourth Swedish goal, sending the game to the shootout.
Sogaard made a pair of spectacular stops in the shootout.
His best was on Erik Brannstrom, who had the goalie down and out, only to see him stretch out with his paddle and sweep the shot off the goal-line.
Adam Boqvist and Elvenes put pucks behind Sogaard and Eriksson-Ek stopped all five Denmark shooters at the other end to close out the night.