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Canadian Press
Dec 22, 2006, 3:44 PM EST


STOCKHOLM (CP) - Sweden rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 3-2 in a world junior hockey exhibition game Friday.

Canada led on goals by Karl Alzner and Sam Gagner before Sweden won it on goals by Jonas Ahnelov, Patrik Berglund and Fredrik Pettersson. Steve Downie was assessed his second 10-minute misconduct of the game when time expired.

It was Canada's second and final exhibition. It beat Finland 5-2 Wednesday.

The two exhibition games helped coach Craig Hartsburg's squad get ready to begin its quest to earn Canada a third straight world title. Canada's tournament opener is Tuesday against the host Swedes in Leksand (12:30 p.m. ET), and all 6,478 available tickets sold quickly.

In the Friday exhibition, Sweden had a 32-31 shots edge. The starting goaltenders were Leland Irving, the native of Swan Hills, Alta., who plays for the WHL's Everett Silvertips, and Joel Gistedt.

Canada led 2-0 after one period.

Alzner, the defenceman from Burnaby, B.C., who plays for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, opened the scoring 1:25 into the game. Gagner of Oakville, Ont., and the OHL's London Knights added a power-play goal at 15:30.

When Downie of Queensville, Ont., was sent off for interference late in the period. The referee didn't appreciate the reaction by the hot-tempered forward from the OHL's Peterborough Petes and tacked on a misconduct.

The only goal in the second period was scored by Ahnelov at 12:33, and Berglund tied it 1:28 into the third.

Sweden grabbed a 3-2 lead on a power-play goal by Pettersson at 6:01 of the third. Bryan Little of Cambridge, Ont., and the OHL's Barrie Colts had been assessed an interference penalty.

Hartsburg pulled Irving with 1:25 left. Canada had a two-skater advantage for the final 12 seconds after Sweden was penalized, but the Swedes held on for the one-goal win.

Downie was assessed a double minor penalty and misconduct for butt-ending at the 60-minute mark.

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