When I wrote my tournament preview for this year’s IIHF World Hockey Championships, I finished on the thought that we could see an underdog team make a run and surprise us this year. Canada won the gold, which alone isn’t a huge surprise, but when you consider the youth of the roster and the fact that they started 0-3 and scraped into the playoffs, it will be forever be a tremendous story for this team.
After scraping into the quarterfinals thanks to a bunch of things breaking their way, including a German win over Latvia in the final round robin game, Canada did it. A quarterfinal win over Russia in overtime, a semifinal win over the United States, and today an overtime win over reigning champion Finland.
The game started out very chippy as Canada found themselves shorthanded three times in the opening period and both sides were throwing the body around and engaging in scrums. Finland jumped out to a 1-0 lead shortly after a Canadian penalty expired with Mikael Ruohomaa beating Kuemper from the slot just above his pad.
Early in the second period the Canadians tied the game on the powerplay as Maxime Comtois banged home a loose puck after Connor Brown’s point shot rang off the post. From there both teams had really good chances to take the lead in the second but the goaltenders battled hard at left the game tied 1-1 heading to the third.
Early in the third, the Finns retook the lead with Petteri Lindbohm beating Kuemper through a couple of screens. Finland was ahead 2-1 and it looked like a daunting task as the Finns had been so strong at shutting things down and defending leads in the tournament.
A nice rush from Nick Paul with about eight minutes to go led to a tripping call and sent Canada to the powerplay. On that man advantage, Maxime Comtois made a ridiculous between the legs pass in front to Adam Henrique who put his own rebound in the net to tie the game.
Finland pushed hard late but again Kuemper shut the door and the game went to overtime. It is important to note for those who don’t know that the overtime is continuous 3-on-3 on international ice which is nuts.
After a number of chances, Canada finally broke through with Nick Paul and Connor Brown teaming up on a 2-on-1 with Paul finishing it for the Golden Goal!
The celebration was on as Canada won the Gold Medal for the first time since 2016. For Flames fans, this was an especially sweet moment as Andrew Mangiapane was first named to the tournament All-Star team along with Conor Garland (USA), Liam Kirk (GBR), Korbinian Holzer (GER), Moritz Seider (GER) and Jussi Olkinuora (FIN) joined him.
However Andrew Mangiapane was also named Tournament MVP which is an amazing honour for him. Since coming over, he had 11 points in 7 games and the team went 6-0-1.
Congrats Canada and especially Andrew Mangiapane! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him next season with the Flames.
In other news, Connor Mackey and the United States defeated Germany 6-1 in the bronze medal game earlier in the day.