Best offence is defence

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

In winning their first Mac's Cup, the Swedes did it with plenty of offensive firepower but, by the same token, they played pretty good defence as well.

Yesterday's 3-2 win over the Saskatoon Contacts, last year's champion, was yet another game in which the Swedes limited their opposition, something they did all week at the Mac's tournament as they allowed an average of 19 shots per game, including yesterday's final at the 'Dome.

Saskatoon's goals came on a penalty shot and a scramble in front but they failed to produce any sustained pressure or many scoring chances. Contacts co-coach Darren Evjen said the Swedes are blessed with an abundance of speed, which makes them outstanding defenders.

"It comes down to speed. If everybody on your team is that fast and that good, I mean it's a national team, so they should be pretty good," said Evjen, whose club managed 21 shots on goal yesterday.

"They pass the puck well and they've got great speed. They make plays at high speed and they're coached well ... so there's not much room for error."

Along with skating, passing was definitely the Swedes' forte as most of their feeds were tape to tape or into an open area where a player was bursting.

It wasn't like they got spectacular goaltending. The Swedes certainly didn't have the best goalie in Mark Owuya, who was decent but not superb.

That nod went to the Contacts' Garrett Zemlak, a Calgary Hitmen listed player who was named the tournament's top 'tender. He was dynamite, stopping 29 shots.

They didn't need great goaltending when spending a chunk of their games playing keepaway with the opposition. When the Swedes got the lead, it was pretty much lights out. They just sent one forward in to forecheck and kept two back at the blueline, eliminating offence.

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ALL STARS

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:

Mikael Backlund -- Team Sweden

BEST DEFENCEMAN:

Jeremie Houde -- Saskatoon Contacts

TOP GOALTENDER:

Garrett Zemlak -- Saskatoon Contacts

PLUS/MINUS:

Cole Brodbin -- Fort Saskatchewan Rangers

TOP SCORER:

Mikael Backlund -- Team Sweden

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE:

Michael Winkel -- Prince Albert Mintos

TOP COACH:

Jim McIntyre -- Saskatoon Contacts

FIRST TEAM ALL STARS:

G Garrett Zemlak (Saskatoon Contacts); D Tommy Brown (Prince Albert Mintos); F Jeremie Houde (Saskatoon Contacts); F Michael Winkel (Prince Albert Mintos); F Mikael Backlund (Team Sweden); F Nick Kalnicki (Saskatoon Contacts).

SECOND TEAM ALL STARS:

G Dustin Tokarski (Prince Albert Mintos); D Brent Regner (Fort Saskatchewan Rangers); D Mark Jensen (Moose Jaw Warriors); F Andy Smith (Moose Jaw Warriors); F Reto Suri (Swiss Nationals); F Mike Connolly (Calgary Buffaloes).

MAC'S SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS:

Matt Snow, Dartmouth Subways; Dan Otto, Team Illinois; Michael Glaicar, Thompson Blazers; Mark Jensen, Moose Jaw Warriors; Jeremie Houde, Saskatoon Contacts.


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