Swedes sour

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:55 PM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Not that you would have expected otherwise but Torgny Bendelin sure didn't mince words. On the heels of the 8-1 shellacking his team suffered yesterday afternoon, the Swedish head coach couldn't help but sing his praises of the Canadian team that administered the beating.

Did it rather emphatically, too.

"Simple mistakes in the second period made the game switch around totally," Bendelin said.

"This is no excuse for me, there were too many simple mistakes you can't do in a game like this but too many players we have aren't used to playing at this level.

"I have five players playing regular in the elite league at home but the level there is not as high as here.

"We played against the absolute best junior (team) in the world today and if you're going to have a chance, you can't make the mistakes like we made."

For 20 minutes, the Swedes hung in there.

The shot clock showed how one-sided the opening period was at the Ralph Engelstad Arena with Canada holding a 16-4 edge but the score was tied at one goal apiece.

"I'm very satisfied with the way the team played in the first period," Bendelin said.

"I really think we should have used the five-on-three chance in the first period to put more pressure on Canada."

Making good with the second two-man advantage early in the second period would have helped, too.

However, neither golden powerplay chance brought about anything positive for Tre Kroner and the carnage soon followed.

"After the first period, we thought, 'Hey, we can beat them if we played like we did,' " said Robert Nilsson, the Calgary-born son of former Flames star Kent Nilsson. "And if we score on that five-on-three (late in the first), it's 2-1 and we don't know what might have happened."

Instead, though, it was Team Canada that unloaded both barrels.

Running roughshod over the Swedish defenders, one shot after another during the four-goal second period went by netminder Christopher Heino-Lindberg and the rout was on.

"We let them into the zone in front of the net too easy and didn't take them away from the rebounds," said Nilsson. "There were three or four goals scored on the rebound.

"They're good around the net but we should have taken them."

Heino-Lindberg, who was yanked after surrendering Canada's sixth goal less than a minute into the final period, was none too impressed -- not only with himself but also his teammates.

"I'm a winner and I want to win but when I see it 4-1 and my players are just standing around and looking?" he said without having to finish the thought.

"This is Canada and they are a really good team but if we can score on them when it is 2-1, it's another game. But we stand around and look."

The good news for Sweden is this is just one of four round-robin tilts.

The Swedes can still make the medal round.

"Some of these guys are already playing in the NHL and we see how good they are," Nilsson said.

"We saw how much of a level up there is and we've seen it's a few steps."


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