SWEDES PULL AWAY IN THIRD TO TOP SLOVAKS
JASON LA ROSE
EDMONTON, Alta. – Karl Henriksson and Philip Broberg scored goals in the first six minutes of the third period, helping Sweden double up Slovakia 4-2 in the opener for both Monday at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The Swedes held a one-sided 44-21 advantage in shots on goal but couldn’t put away a pesky Slovak side until the final frame.
Slovakia needed just 43 seconds to get the scoring started; a harmless looking shot from Maxim Cajkovic found its way through Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt, and Adrian Valigura crashed the crease to poke in the loose puck.
Sweden got even midway through the first period when Albin Grewe worked his way down to the face-off circle before wiring a quick shot on the short-side past Slovak netminder Patrik Kozel for a power-play marker.
It was the Scandinavians who netted a first-minute goal in the second period; a pair of Swedes fanned on shots in close before Slovak centre Dominik Sojka inadvertently swept the puck past Kozel.
Slovakia tied it with just under five minutes to go in the middle frame off the stick of Oliver Turan, who hammered a rebound past Wallstedt on the power play to make it a 2-2 game after two periods.
Penalty trouble sunk the Slovaks in the third period, and Henriksson finished a pretty pass from Alexander Holtz only 1:56 into the final stanza for the eventual game-winner on a two-man advantage.
Broberg added the final goal at 5:27, going hard to the net and tucking the puck around Kozel.
The Slovak netminder was terrific in a losing cause, making 40 saves.
Sweden is back in action Tuesday afternoon against Switzerland (3 p.m. MT), right before Slovakia takes on Canada in the night-cap (7 p.m. MT).