Special teams give Sweden boost in opening win
With a lot of turnover on their roster, there were plenty of questions about how this year's edition of the Swedish junior team would fare in defending their title from a year ago, but the team put many of those questions to rest with a dominant opening win over the Czechs.
The Swedes were able to capitalize on some earl penalty trouble for the Czechs. Montreal Canadiens prospect Sebastian Collberg opened the scoring on a 2-man advantage, then Elias Lindholm put the Swedes up a pair on that same powerplay with the team up a man. Just like that, Sweden had a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
In the 2nd period it was the Swedes who found themselves in early penalty trouble, but they were still able to extend their lead when Filip Sandberg notched a shorthanded goal, putting the Swedish side up by three.
Captain Filip Forsberg netted Sweden's fourth goal of the game in the third period at equal strength. The Czechs spoiled Joel Lassinantti's shutout bid with only six seconds remaining in the game on a goal by captain Lukas Sedlak.
Swedish assistant captain Rickard Rakell left the game briefly after a hit by Czech forward Dmitrij Jaskin, but did return.
One takeaway for the Swedes in an otherwise solid performance may be their lack of discipline. The team racked up 20 penalty minutes and was twice penalized for having too many players on the ice.
Both teams are off until Friday when Sweden will play Switzerland, and the Czech Republic will face off with Finland.