Canada heads to gold-medal game with comeback win vs. Latvia at Worlds
It required a comeback, but Canada survived a scare from Latvia to book its spot in the gold-medal game at the 2023 IIHF World Championship during Saturday's first semifinal.
Top 2023 NHL Draft prospect Adam Fantilli netted the game-winner in the third period as Canada tamed the underdogs in a 4-2 victory.
"It's pretty special," Fantilli said of the moment, per IIHF. "I grew up watching (Milan Lucic) my entire life. He gave me that pass, and it ended up going in, but that was a pretty surreal feeling."
Jack Quinn was named Canada's player of the game after scoring the game-tying goal.
Canada will try to ascend to the top of the podium for the first time since 2021 on Sunday against Germany, who shocked the United States in overtime in the second semifinal.
Latvia put the Canadians on their heels before the midway mark of the first period when Dans Locmelis dumped in the rebound on an angle to open the scoring.
Sammy Blais got the reigning silver medalists on the board in the middle frame, but Rudolfs Balcers restored Latvia's lead just over a minute later.
The tide turned for the Canadians in the final frame.
Quinn banked in the equalizer off Latvian netminder Arturs Silovs' head in the opening minute of the stanza. Canada held onto that momentum, with Fantilli giving his team its first lead of the game a little over eight minutes later.
The highlight-reel snipe is the 18-year-old Fantilli's first goal of the tournament.
Canada's Scott Laughton scored an empty-netter to put the game out of reach.
Latvia still has a chance to win its first medal at an IIHF event. The tournament co-host will play against the United States for bronze Sunday.
Canadian defenseman Ethan Bear wasn't in the lineup after being slashed by Finland's Kasperi Kapanen at the end of Thursday's quarterfinal.
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