3 p.m., April 11)
Swedes down Jr. Grads in entertaining match-up
of the Söderhamn-Ljusne Hockey Club and the Cumberland Jr. Grads Major Midget
AA team get together for a group photo following their exhibition game Saturday
night which Söderhamn won 5-3. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Friel Centre was the scene of an international hockey exchange on Friday night
as a team from Söderhamn, Sweden took on the Cumberland Jr. Grads Major Midget
AA squad in the first of two exhibition games against Cumberland area teams.
quick scan of the Swedish line-up would indicate that the Jr. Grads would be in
tough against their visiting opponents. The team representing the Söderhamn-Ljusne
Hockey Club has no fewer than seven players born in 1990 and two '89s on it, while
half of the Jr. Grads team were born in '92.
the game being billed as a friendly match-up between the two teams, Söderhamn-Ljusne
came out loaded for bear, throwing their bodies around at will and laying several
monstrous hits against the Jr. Grads.
the first few minutes the Cumberland players dished out as much punishment as
the took, but then the game settled into a tight checking affair with neither
team able to mount much offence until the 2:06 mark of the first period when Fredrik
Persson took a pass from Hampus Malm in front of the Jr. Grads net and fired a
quick shot past goalie Alexis Lamontagne.
level of play picked up in the second stanza, but it wasn't until the midway point
of the period after both teams had swtiched their goaltenders that the Swedish
team pounced for two quick goals.
first came just 13 seconds after Martin Parent had replaced Desjardins. Fredrik
Wallström was flying down the near boards and was turning into the centre of the
ice when he tried to headman the puck to a teammate just as he was about to cross
the Jr. Grads' blueline. The player missed the pass, but Wallström picked up the
puck inside the Cumberland end and then turned and fired a shot that beat Parent
high glove side.
Swedes' third goal came 12 seconds later when Malm banged home a loose puck in
the Jr. Grads' crease on a play in which Cumberland's defence was clearly out
3-0 at that point, the Jr. Grads mounted a comeback scoring three goals in the
remaining eight minutes and 33 seconds period, led by David Labelle who set up
the first goal by Steven Masterson; scored the second goal on a pass from Michael
Desjardins; and then helped set up the tying goal by Michel Paquette with only
nine seconds to go in the period.
Swedish players' superior skills were evident in the third stanza as they began
to pour it on. The Swedes had a great chance early in the period during a scramble
in front of the Jr. Grads net, but Masterson managed to get a piece of the puck
while covering for Parent, who was taken out of position on the play. The puck
deflected off Masterson and then ricocheted off the left post and out of harm's
the third period began to unfold it became evident the Swedes were keeping one
player circling around the neutral zone in anticiptation of a breakout pass that
might catch the Jr. Grads off guard.
strategy worked to perfection during a penalty kill when Persson took a lead pass
from Malm and streaked in on Parent. Nicholas Ziebell tried to catch up to Persson
from behind and briefly lifted his stick, but the Swedish player egained control
of the puck and lifted a quick backhand over Parent's right pad.
Swedes got an insurance marker with 2:17 left in the game when Alexandre Grundström
scored a power play goal moments after Parent made a huge save with his right
pad. The visitors then added an empty net goal with 6.3 seconds left on the clock
for the 5-3 win.
the game, Jr. Grads captain Jeremie Maisonneuve said the Swedes physicality in
the first period caught them a little off guard, but it was their skill with the
puck and especially their hand skills that impressed them the most.
sure they're a very good team. They're very good skaters and they have a lot of
hand skill," said Maisonneuve.
Swedish team arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday and played the Ottawa Sting Midget Rep
B team on Wednesday which they won 4-2. They then went to see the Ottawa Sentors
beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night.
all but one of the players this is their first trip to North America. For goalie
Robin Jacobsen this is a homecoming of sorts. The Swedish born player lived in
Cumberland for a number of years and played House League hockey with the Cumberland
Minor Hockey Association. His father Mikael Jacobsen organized the trip.
captain Marcus Gard, says the team has been looking forward to the trip for months.
Asked what the highlight has been so far, he quickly answered the hockey.
2-0 with one game left. It's been very good and a lot of fun. I'm glad we came,"
Gard said in excellent English.
getting to test their skills against Canadian competition has been the highlight
of the trip so far, getting tho see their first NHL game live and in person has
been a close second.
was very exciting and very powerful. We couldn't believe there were so many people,"
team will wrap up their trip on Tuesday night with a game against the Cumberland
Bandits Junior C team. The game will be preceded by a special ceremony attended
by Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Iremark and city councillors Bob Monette, Rob Jellett
and Rainer Bloess.
tickets to the game are $6 each, although tickets purchased for Saturday's game
against the Jr, Grads are also redeemable at the door.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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