Team Canada has strung together back-to-back wins at the IIHF World Championship held in Latvia. After opening the tournament with a lost to the host, the Canadians then dropped two more contests to the United States and Germany, before finally picking up a 4-2 win over Norway in a must-win scenario on Wednesday.
Despite owning a 1-3 record through four games, Canada came out firing on Friday. Scoring the game’s opening goal, the newest member of the team, Andrew Mangiapane collected a power play marker just over six minutes into the contest.
Canadian captain Adam Henrique provided the team with a 2-0 lead in the early stages of the second period. But just three minutes later, Kazakhstan’s Nikita Mikhailis responded, cutting the lead to one with 35 minutes left to play. Although being handed five separate man advantages through the second period, Canada was only able to score its lone first period marker by way of the power play.
Then just 1:31 into the third period, Mikhailis tied the game for the Kazakhs, beating Darcy Kuemper five-hole, on a line rush up ice. But six minutes later, Winnipeg Jets’ 2020 first round draft pick Cole Perfetti scored the-game winner, on a wrist shot from the face-off dot.
It’s Goal Perfetti time, of course! 🚨
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 28, 2021
“We knew our circumstances and that it’s must-win here on out, so when they tied it, we knew we had to get the go-ahead goal,” Perfetti said post-game. “I was lucky enough to get a good pass and find the back of the net, and then the rest of the team shut it down from there, so it was a good win.”
Connor Brown added an insurance marker in the dying seconds, helping Canada to its second consecutive 4-2 victory. Now sitting at 2-3 through five games of the round robin, the Canadians will take on Italy on Sunday, before battling with the reigning champ Finland two days later. Both preliminary round games will be looked upon as must-wins for the Canadians moving forward.
“You can’t look too far ahead, can’t overlook any team in in this tournament,” Henrique added. “So we’ve got to take care of business. Our game has been evolving the last couple of games. We’ve certainly been playing a much better, well-rounded team game. That’s what we need to do to have success so I think we have to carry that into the next game. Our sole focus is on Italy right now.”