Canada Edges USA to Advance
Considering Canada needed a game they weren't in to go to finish in regulation just to get to the playoffs, advancing to the championship game for the fifth time in the past six years with a 4-2 win over the United States on Saturday.
Canada will look to win gold for the third time in that span, having lost to Finland back in 2019 and Sweden in the shootout back in 2017. The loss for the United States means the top seed in both groups in round-robin play failed to advance to the final, with Russia losing out to Canada in the quarter-final.
Once again, Andrew Mangiapane was the hero for Canada. His two goals in the game - Canada's second and third goals - helped give Canada the edge and the eventual game-winner just two nights after he won the game over Russia in overtime. Mangiapane improves to seven goals in six games, tying Liam Kirk for the tournament lead in goals at this event.
The goal-scoring, though, was opened by somebody different. Brandon Pirri scored his third of the tournament to open the scoring at just 2:02 to force the Americans to chase early. That didn't stop the Americans, though, from tying it up when Colin Blackwell scored at 17:17 to force a tie heading into the first intermission.
That's when Mangiapane took over, with two goals to make it 3-1. His second-period marker at 24:15 continued the impressive chemistry between him and Connor Brown, with Mangiapane beating Cal Petersen for the 2-1 goal. Adam Henrique had a goal taken back on an offside later in the period, but Mangiapane scored early in the third to give Canada the two-goal lead - and beating Petersen for three goals for the first time all tournament.
But the United States was a hungry bunch in the third period. USA outshot Canada 17-4 in the third period, and at 43:36, Sasha Chmelevski was able to score on a rebound after knocking the disk through Darcy Kuemper's legs for the 3-2 goal. USA pulled Petersen late in an effort to tie the game up, but Justin Danforth's empty-netter helped seal the deal for Canada to advance.
First Period Goals Enough for Finland to Beat Germany
Finland will look to win gold for the second consecutive tournament after beating Germany 2-1 in the second semifinal contest.
The win puts Finland in the final for the fifth time since 2011, winning gold in 2011 against Sweden and 2019 against Canada. Germany will meet up with the United States for a shot at a medal for the first time since taking silver back in 1953.
At 13:50, Iiro Pakarinen scored the game's opening goal. His shot looked harmless at first, but it just squeaked through the legs of Mathias Niederberger for the goal that put Germany on its heels. It got worse for Germany who, despite outshooting the Finns 9-5 in the first, found themselves down 2-0 with a late goal in the opening frame. Hannes Bjorninen finished off a feed from Marko Anttila for the 2-0 goal,
Germany did answer back in the second in a big way. After multiple big blocks by the German defense, Matthias Plachta scored on a power-play blast at 31:03, with his shot beating Jussi Olkinuora over the glove to make it 2-1. Germany had a handful of good chances in the third period, but Olkinuora stood tall when it mattered to secure the win.
1. Andrew Mangiapane, F (CAN): Two goals, including the game-winner, as the Calgary Flames forward continues to pad his case for the tournament MVP title.
2. Jussi Olkinuora, G (FIN): A couple of big saves in Finland's win was the difference in an otherwise tight game.
3. Nick Paul, F (CAN): Played his best game of the tournament at a pristine time. Two assists for the reliable forward.
June 5 Schedule
USA vs. Germany - 8:15 AM ET
Canada vs. Finland - 1:15 PM ET