Flames at the World Juniors day 5: Adam Ollas Mattsson on the board, again

With no Team Canada in action today, it would be up to Team Sweden’s Adam Ollas Mattsson to put on a show.

Considering how he’s a defensive defender, and the Swedes were playing Team Denmark – a team that generally has trouble creating offence, at least at this level – maybe it was difficult for anybody to really put on a show in a defensive capacity. But hey, his streak of not being on the ice for a single goal against remains intact, so that’s always good.

Sweden 5-0 Denmark

Defensively, Ollas Mattsson continues to be most noticeable along the boards. If a player goes behind the net or is off to the side, chances are, he’s not getting beyond that. Ollas Mattsson almost takes on a “gentle giant” role in this sense, as he uses his big frame to pin then in a place they’re completely nonthreatening, usually until he either strips the puck from them or, in the more likely scenario, they try to throw the puck out to a teammate and one of Ollas Mattsson’s often picks it up instead.

That’s not to say he’s the perfect defender – shot attempts still happened for the Danes with Ollas Mattsson on the ice – but he helped limit them. At one point, Team Denmark nearly had a three on one, and he was the one back; his stick deflected the puck harmlessly up and out of the way. There’s no panic to his game, and he’s just a steadying, calm presence.

Oh, and big. Again, it’s worth noting that Ollas Mattsson is a very big guy – a Danish player tried hitting him and ended up falling to the ice while he just stood there.

But even though Ollas Mattsson isn’t relied upon in an offensive role – and indeed, he didn’t exactly jump up into the play, often instead preferring to skate along the blueline when the Swedes had offensive pressure – he still did get an assist on the board.

With the Swedes pressing for another goal to build on their 2-0 lead for the entire second period, it was actually Ollas Mattsson who broke through. Cautiously monitoring the blueline, he received the puck, saw he had a lane, and decided to shoot; the puck ended up going in off of Oskar Lindblom’s foot out front of the crease to make it 3-0 and establish a greater lead.

He also had a shot – his one recorded shot of the game – from the point that, while it didn’t go in, created a lot of chaos and resulted in a handful of scoring chances for the Swedes. Ollas Mattsson isn’t there to score, but a heavy, accurate shot is still giving him the chance to score when he has the space to use it.

But really, this is a game in which the Swedes outshot the Danes 48-9, so there wasn’t a ton to do, as the forwards very clearly had things under control to dominate the game.

That’s almost it for the round robin play. Team Sweden has clinched first place in Group A, but depending on Team USA’s performances against the Swiss and Danes, Team Canada may still be able to play for positioning when they take on the perfect Swedes in their final round robin game (though it’s likely they finish third in the group).

Adam Ollas Mattsson and Brandon Hickey will take to the ice opposite one another for sure; Mackenzie Blackwood deserves a second start so Mason McDonald likely will likely be on the bench. Tomorrow, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m.