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Davidsson ready to step up for Team Sweden

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Marcus Davidsson knew it would be a crazy summer with the combine, draft and World Junior Summer Showcase.

He didn't expect it to be this much fun.

The second-round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres in June played for his native Sweden this week at USA Hockey Arena. The four-team event serves as a type of summer evaluation camp in advance of the IIHF World Junior Championship coming to Buffalo in December.

"This week has been great. I think it's a very good start to the season to be here and represent the national team," Davidsson said. "It's a big honor for me. Well I think I've done pretty good. The first game was not the greatest but the more I played, the better it got. I will just keep working my game back in Sweden."

Davidsson ended up with one assist in four games for Sweden, playing Saturday on the third line as Sweden defeated Finland, 6-5, in overtime.

Davidsson was with Sweden last year for the World Junior Championships and brings some experience to the club. That experience also comes with expectations of improving his game. While Davidsson makes smart plays, his coach, Tomas Monten, is looking to see more growth in his game.

"I think Marcus has been a little up and down," Monten said. "He plays a solid two-way game. He plays on our penalty kill. I think he makes all the plays that we want. We just want him to maybe step out of his comfort zone a little more and maybe he's not there yet. But he's a player you can trust in those situations. I think he was OK but I know he can be better than this."

It was a difficult outing for Sabres second-round draft pick Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The goaltender gave up six goals, four to Oskar Steen (Boston), on 32 shots in the loss. Finland was the only team in the event which failed to get a win.

It was a back-and-forth battle that saw five goals scored in the third period. Sweden had taken a 5-4 lead at 13:16, but Finland tied the game with 51 seconds left. On the power play with Luukkonen pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage, Joni  Ikonen (Montreal) scored his third of the game.

Playing 3-on-3 overtime it was Tim Soderlund (Chicago) who scored the game-winner at 2:02.




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