Canadian head coach Kevin Dineen knew it would be a stiff challenge to get his team back on track after a crushing semifinal loss at the world under-18 hockey championship.
His team rose to the occasion Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Sweden in the bronze-medal game.
“The sting from yesterday is not something we hid from or pretend didn’t happen,” Dineen said. “We accepted it and moved on. I think we take satisfaction that we worked hard and that things worked out today.”
A day earlier, Canada erased a three-goal deficit before dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Czech Republic. The loss prevented the 2013 champions from returning to the gold-medal game.
Determined to come home with a medal, the Canadians started off slowly Sunday before finding their form in the third-place game. Brendan Perlini, Lawson Crouse and Travis Konecny scored and goalie Mason McDonald made 38 saves.
“We were not going to miss an opportunity to represent our country well,” Dineen said. “The unity that this group has shown to come together in this short little timeframe, I think there was a lot of encouragement within our group and a lot of very quick chemistry that made yesterday very disappointing.
“But even so, I think we got great satisfaction from today’s win.”
Sweden’s Henrik Tornqvist opened the scoring with a short-handed goal midway through the first period. Perlini answered with a power-play goal at the 17:02 mark.
Crouse put Canada ahead at 11:57 of the second period and Konecny provided an insurance goal with less than five minutes to play in the third.
“We’ve spent five weeks together and we’ve done a lot of work,” Dineen said. “Things didn’t end the way we wanted to but on the flip side of that, that time could come down to the game today. They played extremely hard.
“There’s one thing that we certainly won’t fault them (for) — we had great effort throughout this whole tournament.”
Linus Soderstrom made 23 saves as Sweden settled for a fourth-place finish.
“There was no guarantee how it was going to end,” Dineen said. “But in saying that, I think we all walk out of here — and I hope the boys do as well — (feeling) that they’re a little wiser about the game and a little better for the experience.”
The United States won gold later in the day with a 5-2 victory over the Czechs.