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Barzal Raises Game in Gold, Stayed Boiling Hot

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Mathew Barzal, Team Canada

On Sunday, the 2022 IIHF World Championships came to a close. In the fight for the Gold medal, Team Canada came up just short, falling in overtime to Finland by a score of 4-3. New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal gave his team every chance to win the game, as he assisted on each of Canada’s three goals.

All three of Mat Barzal’s assists were primary assists.

Halfway through the second period, Team Canada scored the first goal of the contest. While on the power play, Barzal received the puck at the top of the right circle and quickly found Buffalo Sabres forward Dylan Cozens, with accuracy, across the zone, who rifled one past Finnish netminder Jussi Olkinuora.

That assist extended Barzal’s point streak at the tournament to three games, with points in each elimination game. But the 25-year-old was far from done.

Despite getting on the board first and taking a 1-0 lead into the third period, Barzal and Team Canada found themselves in a 3-1 hole with around six minutes to play in the third period.

But with 2:12 to go on the clock, and netminder Chris Driedger on the bench, Barzal set up Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud with a no-look soft past, which he skated into and rifled past the blocker side of Olkinuora to make it a one-goal came.

And with 1:24 on the block, and Driedger back on the bench, Mat Barzal found Anaheim Ducks forward Max Comtois from behind the Finnish net as Canada erased their two-goal deficit in 48 seconds.

It was just an impressive showing for Mat Barzal and what a way for him to end his tournament on a personal level. For the second time in three games, Barzal took home “Player of the Game” accolades.

Just two games prior, Mathew Barzal helped Team Canada come back against Sweden after trailing at one point by a score of 3-0. Barzal scored the tying goal late in the third and tallied the primary assist on the overtime winner, on his 25th birthday.

If you had been watching from the start of the tournament, Barzal seemed like a passenger, as ex-Islanders head coach Barry Trotz loves to say. His creativity was not there, with just two assists in six games.

But when the games mattered to the extreme, that’s when Barzal flourished. In the three elimination games, the Vancouver native notched two goals and four assists. Three of the six points came on the man advantage.

 

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