RIGA (AFP) – From historically bad to record-breaking world champion in less than two weeks: Canada’s World Cup victory in Riga is the end of a rapid development.
A dangerous horror scenario as the qualifying round approaches has led to the German selection for the ice hockey nation being ruled out. Just a few days after the Canadians shivered, with several unidentified team members, helpless to reach the quarter-finals, they were crowned world champions for the 27th time. They caught up with Russia and finished the tournament with golden rain. It’s a unique success story that fits this bizarre World Cup with a championship bubble and no absolute superstars.
The World Cup begins with three defeats
“When the team became known, they didn’t give us a chance,” said Maxime Comtoua, the final scorer. After the 3-2 extension drama against defending champions Finland, he did not leave the cup at the booth ceremony: “Some said we were not good, we were the C team for Canada. Then we started 3-0. Everyone started to write us off.”
why not? The world number one started with three defeats. Bad as never before. No team has ever won a gold medal with such a poor start. The World League declared that a nation had never been victorious with a total of four bankruptcies. “We showed everyone they were wrong,” Comtoa said. “We’ve played ice hockey really well when it counts.”
The victory underscores the number of talent Canadians can draw on, who can all become world champions. The path to success also reflects these problems and characteristics of the World Cup. Due to many rejections, coach Gerard Gallant relied on a very small selection with players who do not play a major role in the NHL. Only after 1:3 against Germany, Germany’s first World Cup victory over Canada in 25 years, did the first country improve.
National Hockey League striker Mangyapan made the difference
If you’re looking for an answer to the causes, you’ll come across Andrew Mangyapan time and time again. After joining the team, he became a symbol of the resurrection of Canadians. In his first three World Cup matches, the NHL striker was unavailable. After the season with Calgary ended, he first had to serve in quarantine.
With seven goals and four assists in seven matches, the 25-year-old has risen to be the most valuable player at the World Cup. With the help of King Conor Brown, the World Cup top scorer with 14 assists and two goals, and captain Adam Henrique, he formed an impressive hat-trick. “He was the difference player, there’s no doubt about that,” Gallant said.
At the end of the preliminary round, Canada had to count on the match between Germany and hosts Latvia after 60 minutes. Only because Germany won 2-1 and Kazakhstan had previously lost to the eliminated Norwegians did Canada advance. Canada then went on to beat Russia, arch rival the United States and defending champion Finland. In overtime, Ottawa striker Nick Ball (67th minute) scored the winning goal when he provided his teammate Brown and avenged the 2019 final defeat against the Finns.
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