Happy birthday, Mathew Barzal! On his 25th birthday, Barzal and Team Canada defeated Team Sweden 4-3 in overtime of their quarterfinal match at the 2022 IIHF World Championships. Team Canada advances to the semifinals and takes on Team Czechia.
Before today’s victory, Barzal did not contribute much to Canada in terms of points. In six games, Barzal only chipped in a couple of helpers. It was a fairly quiet tournament for the Islanders center until today. Canada fell behind 3-2 in the final minutes of the match. On the attack with less than two minutes left, Claude Julien pulled Chris Driedger for the extra skater. From the right circle, Barzal shows some cunning edge work that avoids Sweden’s Oskar Lang and throws a backhanded wrist online in the traffic that beats Boston Bruins goalkeeper, Linus Ullmark and equalizes to three with 1:23 left on the clock.
Barzal sends Canada and Sweden on overtime and things do not last very long. Toronto Maple Leafs forward, William Nylander, takes a stumbling penalty 25 seconds into extra time and sends Sweden to the penalty spot, giving Canada a 4-on-3 lead. Barzal, again from the right circle, pulls a defender and feeds the Ottawa Senators forward, Drake Batherson with a beautiful pass with no appearance to end things in overtime, Batherson’s third goal of the tournament.
Canada made an unlikely comeback after falling behind by three goals heading into the third period. Goals from New Jersey Devils defenders Ryan Graves and Winnipeg Jets forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois made things within reach for Canada before Barzal and Batherson finally decided to call a match. Canada now advance to the semifinals of the seventh World Cup in the IIHF in a row.