ESKASONI, N.S. – Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) and Mitchell Marner (Thornhill, Ont./London, OHL) had a goal and an assist each to help Ontario to a 4-1 win over Sweden in pre-tournament action ahead of the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Saturday night.
It’s the second year in a row Ontario has beaten the Swedes in exhibition action; it scored a 7-2 victory exactly one year ago in Plessisville, Que., although Sweden went on to win its first-ever U17 gold medal.
Mitchell Stephens (Peterborough, Ontr./Saginaw, OHL) and Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) had the other goals for Ontario, which picked up the victory despite being outshot 33-31.
Filip Ahl scored the lone goal for Sweden.
Ontario struck early, with Stephens and Speers, on the power play, scoring in the first nine minutes for the early 2-0 advantage, although Ahl would pull Sweden back to within a goal very late in the first period.
Marner scored midway through the second period to restore the two-goal advantage, and Konecny, the Ontario captain and first-overall pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, capped the scoring five minutes into the third.
The Swedes struggled on the power play, going 0-for-11, including five chances without a goal in the third period, when they outshot the Canadian side 13-7.
Troy Timpano (Pickering, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) played the first two periods in the Ontario goal before giving way to Ben Blacker (Oakville, Ont./Milton, OJHL), while Felix Sandström, who was a back-up on last year’s championship team, and Rasmus Hedström split the 60 minutes for Sweden.
Ontario opens its tournament Sunday afternoon (2 p.m. AT) against Germany at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S., while the Swedes open defense of their gold medal against the Czech Republic in North Sydney, N.S., in another Sunday matinee (2 p.m. AT).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)