A taste of adversity

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic -- A Sutter doesn't usually mince words.

So when Team Canada's Brandon Sutter was asked about the dramatic turn in the third period of yesterday's 4-3 loss to Sweden, he pointed the finger straight at himself.

"I took a penalty and they capitalized on it, and that seemed to change the whole momentum of the game," Sutter said.

"It was a minor mistake that turned into a snowball. They kept coming. They kept scoring goals."

Shawn Matthias had just given Canada a 2-0 lead early in the third when Sutter was nabbed for tripping.

Soon after, the floodgates opened, the Swedes scoring while Sutter was in the box, then adding two more -- all in less than four minutes.

Canada seemed to right the ship when Claude Giroux made it 3-3 with just under four minutes to go, but Tobias Forsberg (no relation to Peter) scored the winner with just seven seconds left, and Sweden took control of first place in Group A.

"It was tough," Sutter said. "Really tough. A sh---- way to lose."

While Canada was victimized by bad bounces on two of Sweden's goals, it also made its share of mistakes.

Sweden's third goal was scored with Riley Holzapfel off for tripping, and the winner came after Brad Marchand, who scored Canada's first goal, turned the puck over.

"Everyone's gotta play better in the third period," Sutter said. "That was one mistake I made. Everybody could say they made one themselves. As a team we just weren't good enough."

Head coach Craig Hartsburg says his team's youth -- half its players are under 19 -- may have played a role in its downfall.

'MORE COMPOSURE'

"We'd obviously like to have a little more composure," Hartsburg said. "But that's a great learning experience for them. Next time we're in that situation, hopefully we'll handle it a little different."

After rolling over the Russians in last summer's Super Series, then through their first two games here, it's the first adversity many of these players have faced as members of Team Canada.

According to goaltender Jonathan Bernier, the loss could have a silver lining.

"It was good we faced adversity before the semi and the final," Bernier said. "If we had one to lose, it was tonight. It's not the end of the world."

If Sweden wins its last preliminary game against the Czechs tomorrow, it gets first place and a direct berth into the semifinal, while the Canadians will have to play an extra sudden-death game, something they've avoided in winning the last three gold medals.

"We might have to play a quarter-final now, but that's fine with us," Sutter said. "We want to make sure we get a crack at 'em again."


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