Team Canada has just won an absolute thriller of a game in overtime over ROC (Russia) in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships.
Calgary Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane capped off the play after getting an absolutely beauty of a feed from Detroit Red Wings blueliner Troy Stecher. Mangiapane, in fact, started the play with a perfect zone entry before feeding Stecher with a no look pass. Stecher pulled off some beautiful stickhandling fakes and slid the puck back over the Mangiapane to ice the game for Canada.
Check it out:
Canada will move on to face their arch rival USA in the semi-finals now after looking quite rusty early in the tournament. Canada went 3-1-3 in preliminary play and, quite frankly, they did not look like a team that would compete for the Gold medal. After all, this is a young squad full of players just getting their feet wet with international hockey. Sure there are a few veterans like Connor Brown, Adam Henrique, Colin Miller and Troy Stecher within the ranks, but there are also undrafted players llike Braden Schneider and projected 1st overall pick Owen Power. Then there's young NHLers like Gabriel Vilardi, Liam Foudy, Nick Paul and Maxime Comtois.
Team Canada GM Roberto Luongo purposefully went with a young, hungry roster for this year's event all the while knowing that it would be difficult to get veteran buy in during such trying times. Rather than going down the list of rejections from elite Canadian NHL talent, Luongo tapped into players that he felt would really jump at the opportunity to represent Canada and get in some good, high level development. The fact that Canada is moving on to the semi-finals would seem to indicate that Luongo was on to something with his decision. Big credit to head coach Gerard Gallant for getting the most out of a young and inexperienced squad, as well.
But don't start celebrating yet Canadians because Team USA is no pushover. They went 6-1 in the preliminary round and seem to have really gelled together over the course of this tournament. With a roster that's just as young and fired up as Team Canada's the Semi-Final matchup should be a beauty.