Sweden, Sundin Torpedo Canada
In Olympic Opener

Sweden used their innovative "torpedo" system to perfection against a confused Canadian squad as Mats Sundin beat Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Curtis Joseph for two goals in a 5-2 victory.

"We worked the torpedo, and it worked pretty good," said Niklas Sundstrom, who scored a goal and an assist. "We're used to playing on the big ice. Everybody knows it's a different game on the big ice."

The Swedish Torpedo is an offensive strategy highlighted by the switching defensemen one at a time with certain lines rather than in pairs, as in the classic North American style, and using them primarily as another forward to create offense. Sweden overwhelmed Canada with its speed and familiarity with the oversized Olympic ice.

Canada opened the scoring just 2:37 into the game thanks to a Rob Blake slapshot. But the Swedes took over gradually and by the late second period they were dominating.

The game turned in Sweden's favour when they scored four goals in the final 13:54 of the second period.

Though the debut was not fatal to Canada's gold medal hopes, it served as a shocking reminder of Canada's lack of an Olympic gold medal since 1952, and of Canada's recent international failings at the 1998 Olympics and 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

"It was embarrassing," Canada forward Paul Kariya said.

Sundin was the star of the game, knotting the score in the first period with the signature play of the game. Daniel Alfredsson sprung a long pass up ice to Sundin who had streaked behind the Canada defense. Sundin had little trouble beating Joseph with a wrist shot at 5:30 of the first period.

Niklas Sundstrom started Sweden's huge second period, taking Michael Nylander's pass from the right circle to beat Joseph with a shot that deflected slightly off the post at 6:06.

Sundin beat Joseph again, this time with a long slap shot midway through the second period, to make it 3-1 and seemingly take the heart out of Canada, which barely showed a pulse for the rest of the period.

Kenny Jonsson scored just over a minute later, and Ulf Dahlen added a goal at 15:58.

Fortunately for Canada, this game had no effect on the medal round, so the players took the disturbing defeat in stride.

 "There's two more games before the real tournament starts," said Lemieux, who was scoreless with one shot in his Olympic debut. "We still have time to get it together."


Game Summary
Box Score Canada

1

0

1

2

  Sweden

1

4

0

5

First Period

Goals:
CAN, BLAKE, Rob (PECA, Mike / FLEURY, Theo) 02:37  
SWE, SUNDIN, Mats (ALFREDSSON, Daniel) 05:30  

Penalties :
SWE, SUNDIN, Mats • 2 min. / 11:31 / HOLD

Second Period

Goals:
SWE, SUNDSTROM, Niklas (NYLANDER, Michael / NASLUND, Markus) 26:06
SWE, SUNDIN, Mats (ALFREDSSON, Daniel / LIDSTROM, Nicklas) 30:42
SWE, JONSSON, Kenny / ZETTERBERG, Henrik) 31:47
SWE, DAHLEN, Ulf (SUNDSTROM, Niklas / SUNDIN, Mats) 35:58 PP1

Penalties:
CAN, MACINNIS, Al • 2 min. / 35:18 / HI-ST

Third Period

Goals:
CAN, BREWER, Eric (NOLAN, Owen) 55:39

Penalties:
SWE, OLAUSSON, Fredrik• 2 min. / 40:27 / DELAY
SWE, RAGNARSSON, Marcus • 2 min. / 47:16 / TRIP
Goaltenders   - JOSEPH, Curtis
  Sweden - SALO, Tommy
   

First

Second

Third

Final

Shots on Goal by Canada

15

3

17

35

  Sweden

10

11

4

25

Officials Referee

- LARUE, Dennis

  Linesmen
- KULAKOV, Sergei
- SCHACHTE, Dan
Attendance 8,597