The Washington Times - December 29, 2007, 07:09PM
World Junior ChampionshipCanada SEE RELATED:


Sweden

\ Most people in the States don’t care to grasp how great this tournament is, but the hockey on TV today was fantastic. The bigger sheet of ice combined with two very talented teams made for some great up-and-down action, especially at the end.\

\ At one point in the second period, Josh Godfrey and Karl Alzner made quality defensive plays within minutes of each other. Godfrey might have saved a goal with a diving poke check to stop a breakaway. Alzner played a 2-on-1 to near perfection.\

\ Then Alzner was on the ice for Sweden’s first goal (screened the goalie on a power play slap shot) and Godfrey was out there for the second one (got caught looking in front of the net while the puck was bouncing all over the place). Wunderkind John Tavares made a nifty play to help the Canadians tie the game, but then Mikael Backlund (Calgary’s 2007 first-rounder) made two ridiculous moves to get by a pair of Canadian defenders (Thomas Hickey and Drew Doughty) before hitting Tobias Forsberg (an undrafted 19-year-old playing in Sweden) for a one-timer to set off quite a celebration.\

\ I talked to Nicklas Backstrom before the game and while he only saw the last five minutes, he was pretty excited. He said the only guy on the team he knows well is Patrick Berglund, a first-round pick by St. Louis in 2006. He also said that beating Canada wasn’t “party in the streets” big at home, but it is a big deal any time the Swedes can best the Canucks in hockey.\

\ Sweden can wrap up the pool and a bye into the semifinals with a win Monday against the host Czech Republic. After defeating Russia 3-2 today, the United States can do the same in the other pool with a win Monday against Finland.\

\ — Corey Masisak