Mangiapane, Canada beat US 4-2 in world hockey semifinals

Canada’s players celebrate their 4-2 victory in the Ice Hockey World Championship semifinal match between the United States and Canada at the Arena in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, June 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Andrew Mangiapane scored two goals to help Canada beat the United States 4-2 on Saturday in the semifinals of hockey’s world championship.

Mangiapane has seven goals and four assists in six games since joining Canada midway through the preliminary round. Canada started the tournament with three straight losses, but has five wins and a shootout loss since Mangiapane was added to the mix.

“It is crazy how we were able to battle back in this tournament,” said Mangiapane, who plays for Calgary in the NHL. “We have been the underdogs in most of our games, but we just keep proving people wrong.

“It is great to see, and great to see the character of our team and the level of competitiveness we have. We know we are not done yet and we have one more game to take care of business.”

With Saturday’s win, Canada heads to the final for the fifth time in the past six tournaments. Canada’s last gold medals came back to back in 2015 and ’16.

Canada will face Finland in Sunday’s gold-medal match. It’s a rematch of the 2019 final, which Finland won 3-1. The 2020 tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Finland, which defeated Canada 3-2 in a shootout in their final preliminary-round game, beat Germany 2-1 in the semifinals.

Brandon Pirri also scored for Canada, while Justin Danforth added an empty-net goal in the final minute. Ottawa Senators teammates Connor Brown and Nick Paul each had two assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves.

Colin Blackwell and Sasha Chmelevski scored for the U.S., and goalie Cal Petersen blocked 29 shots.

Pirri opened the scoring just over two minutes into the first period, but Blackwell responded for the U.S. at 17:17.

Mangiapane scored the only goal of the second period, and then put Canada up 3-1 early in the third.

The U.S. got one back when Chmelevski scored 3:36 into the third, but Kuemper made 13 saves in the final frame to help Canada hold on. Danforth then capped the scoring with Petersen on the bench in favor of an extra attacker.

“It would have been nice to get my first goal earlier than the eighth game of the tournament, but I just wanted to play the right way and I knew my opportunities would come,” Danforth said.

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