Team Canada coach Gerrard Gallant, after his team fell to 0-3 to open the tournament, vowed he would stick to the plan, saying “we’ve been playing good hockey so far. We just didn’t get the results.
And it looks like the free agent coach, who has interviewed the New York Rangers before and should be considered for other vacancies when he returns to North America, was right. The Canadians, who have scored just two goals in their first three games, have now won three straight and will finish the prelims on Tuesday against Finland.
The first four of each group advance to the quarter-finals.
Although his Calgary Flames did not make the Stanley Cup playoffs, Mangiapane has had a stellar season, and it looks like his momentum has shifted to the world championships. He played in all 56 games, often winning leading minutes for Calgary, finishing with 18 goals and 32 points.
“I thought we were playing from the start,” said Gallant. “We took the lead at the start of the first period and led it to the end. I’m happy with how all four lines played tonight, the defense was solid and the goalies were very good, so it was a good team effort from our squad tonight. “
Adam Henrique added one goal and two assists, Max Comtois, Troy Stecher, Brandon Pirri and Cole Perfetti also scored and Connor Brown had four assists for Canada. Adin Hill made 13 saves in front of the net, allowing only Angelo Miceli’s goal.
Henrique, a veteran Anaheim Ducks forward, has seen a resurgence in the tournament. The captain of Canada, who had two goals and an assist against Norway last Wednesday, was ruled out by Anaheim during the season to return to the Ducks when no other NHL team has claimed him.
In the other Group B game, Anton Lundell scored with four seconds left in overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory over Latvia. Finland leads the group with 15 points, three more than the United States. Kazakhstan are third with 10, and Canada, Germany and Latvia each have nine.
Lundell’s tally was established following an off pass from Olli Maatta, a veteran defenseman who has just had a tough season with the Los Angeles Kings. Traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in time for this season, Maatta struggled with his new team, finishing with just four points. He was a minus-8 as the Kings missed the playoffs. Perhaps crucial overtime help for his country will help spark a turnaround for the 26-year-old.
Maatta and Finland, a team with a lot of NHL experience, could be the toughest opponent in this winning streak for Canada.
“Finland are a very good team and they play a good defensive game, so neutral zone play will be key, and using our transition game will be a big part of our attack,” said Perfetti. “They play a solid game defensively and crush you and capitalize when you make mistakes. We just have to play our game and do what we did the last three.
“Today was a big game for us to score goals and have confidence before the biggest game of the tournament so far. And I think the guys are feeling really good about it. “
The United States will return to play against Germany on Monday and finish the group game on Tuesday against Italy.
In Group A, Victor Olofsson broke the power-play tie with 8:22 remaining to help Sweden beat Slovakia 3-1. Joel Vermin scored two goals and an assist in Switzerland’s 6-0 win over Belarus.
Slovakia, Russia and Switzerland lead the group with 12 points each. Sweden is fourth with nine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.