Canada wins, showdown looms
by Andrew Podnieks|30 MAY 2021
Canada's Andrew Mangiapane #88 celebrates with Sean Walker #26, Mario Ferraro #38, Adam Henrique #14 and Connor Brown #28 after scoring a second-period goal against Italy.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Andrew Mangiapane (“bread eater” in Italian) continued his strong play since joining Team Canada, scoring two goals and adding two assists in a dominating 7-1 win over Italy.

The win is Canada’s third in a row after starting with three losses and moves Canada up into a tie for fourth place in the Group B standings with Germany with nine points each. As a result, this sets up a crucial game against Finland on Tuesday. Canada will likely need to win that game to qualify for the quarter-finals, something it has never failed to do.

"I think if you look back at our last three games that we've won, that's how we want to play on Tuesday," said Canadian forward Sean Walker. "We started off slowly, but we've kind of built off these past three wins, so we just have to continue to grow as a team and connect, play our system."

Italy remains winless and in last place, but there will be no relegation this year, so the Azzurri will be back in the top level next year in Finland. It also has one game remaining, against the U.S. on Tuesday.

"He's a big piece for us," Cole Perfetti said of Mangiapane. "He comes in, and he's had a good year with Calgary, and slots into our first line, which adds to the depth of the team. Obviously, he's the kind of player who can find the back of the net. He's been the spark we've needed to get going. We're happy to have him."

Mangiapane missed the first three games, all losses, due to travel and quarantine, but since his arrival the team is 3-0 and he has seven points.
Italy vs Canada - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
ITA CAN 30 MAY 2021
The Canadians chased starting goalie Justin Fazio early, scoring four times in the first 12 minutes. The Sarnia, Ontario, native was replaced by Davide Fadani. Together, they faced 49 shots while Adin Hill had to deal with only 14 in the Canadian goal.

Perfetti opened the scoring at 2:33. He tipped a point shot from Braden Schneider, and although Fazio made the save, no one checked Perfetti and he got to his own rebound.

Mangaipane got his third of the tournament at 8:04 after a nice play off the rush one-on-one against Italian defender Daniel Glira. After making a couple of quick moves, Mangiapane wired a low shot stick side that beat Fazio cleanly.

Troy Stecher made it 3-0 three minutes later. He took a crisp pass from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and ripped a hard shot past Fazio. Just 25 seconds later, captain Adam Henrique beat the beleaguered goalie with a high backhand, after which coach Giorgio de Bettin called Fazio to the bench for the rest of the night.

"For the most part, we needed to just stick to our game plan, don't play too loose," Walker said of the game situation in which Canada was well ahead with so much of the game still to play. "We don't want to run the score up, but goal differential can be important in this tournament. We just wanted to play our game, and if more went in, so be it."

Canada lulled itself into complacency, however, and Italy took advantage midway through the second period when it got a goal on some poor defence. Angelo Miceli was all alone in front, and although Hill made the first stop, Miceli managed to knock the rebound in during a scramble around the crease. Video review confirmed it was a good hockey goal.

Soon after, on a Canada power play, Italy almost scored again, and these two moments alerted Canada to the fact that the game was far from over. Mangiapane snapped into action. First, he took a sensational backhand saucer pass from linemate Connor Brown and timed a shot past Fadani at 14:48. Three minutes later, he, in turn, set up Maxime Comtois for a wicked slapshot goal to make it 6-1.

Brandon Pirri added another goal at 15:54 of the final period, his first goal of the tournament.

And now, Canada watches the scoreboard and prepares for a do-or-die game against Finland on Tuesday.

"We have to be quicker in transition, not hold on to pucks," Perfetti explained. "In the first three games, we were doing that a little too much, and we paid for that. In the last three games, we've been moving the puck a lot faster and faster through the neutral zone, beating teams to their transition. That's been the key to our success. Finland is a really good team, a good defensive team, so the neutral-zone game will be huge for us. We have to make sure we get back and use our transition game to be a huge part of our offence."
Italy vs Canada - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship