WJC: Klefbom +5 as Sweden slams Slovakia 9-1
Oilers prospect chips in with assist as Swedes improve to 3-0
Calgary, AB - Edmonton Oilers 2011 first-round draft pick Oscar Klefbom tallied one assist and an impressive +5 rating as Sweden dominated Slovakia to the tune of a 9-1 decision on Friday at the Scotiabank Saddledome on the second-last day of Group A round-robin action at the World Junior Championship.
Klefbom, selected 19th overall by the Oilers last June, assisted on Sweden's first goal of the game from Erik Thorell, and the onslaught continued from there, as Thorell and Sebastian Collberg each scored a pair to lead their team to the lopsided win. The Swedes now have a perfect 3-0 record at the tournament.
"Very good game … I think it was our best game of this tournament," Klefbom said following his most productive outing at World Juniors thus far. "The forwards worked very hard in the offensive zone and we created space for our guys. We got the puck to the net and kept going."
The defenceman has one point and a +7 rating for Sweden, which must now prepare to conclude the Preliminary Round on Saturday at 8pm against the defending gold medalists from Russia, who also have a perfect 3-0 record. First place in Group A and a bye to the semifinal round is on the line.
"We have to reload quick and prepare ourselves to play our best game of the tournament," Klefbom said of the much-anticipated round-robin finale. "We have to come out hard. They have a lot of skilled forwards as well, so we have to be on our toes."
On the losing end of the afternoon tilt were Slovakian defencemen Martin Marincin and Martin Gernat, who are also Oilers prospects. The dynamic duo was on the ice for Slovakia's lone goal against Sweden, but each player finished with a -2 rating. Marincin and Gernat each have one assist so far in Calgary.
"It was a very bad game," Marincin said. "We didn't skate, had no good passes and no good play in the offensive zone. And we need to play better in the defensive zone too." "It was bad … everything we did was so bad," Gernat added. "It was hard for us. They have a lot of skill and played how they wanted. But tomorrow is a new day and I hope we will be better. Tomorrow will be an important game for us." Slovakia (1-2) closes out the Preliminary Round on Saturday at 4pm against Switzerland and can clinch third place in Group A and advance to the quarter-final round with a victory.
-- Ryan Frankson, edmontonoilers.com