STUTTGART, Germany - One-time National Hockey League goalie Mario Brunetta made 37 saves and was supported by timely scoring by his teammates Sunday as Italy surprised Canada's National Team 4-1 in the final round-robin game at the Deutschland Cup hockey tournament.
The host Germans beat Slovakia on Sunday to finish with a perfect 3-0 won-lost record and win their annual tournament, while the Italians, 1-1-1 took second place. Canada, which opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory over Slovakia (0-3) finished third, ahead of winless Slovakia.
George Zajankala of North Delta, B.C., scored Canada's only goal, his third of the tournament, to stake Canada to a 1-0 lead at 11:23 of the opening period. But Lino De Toni erased that lead at 17:38 on the power play and the Italians fashioned a 3-1 lead on second-period goals by Agostino Casale and Chris Bartolone. Mario Chitaronni scored the final goal of the game at 19:33 of the third period.
'It was difficult to rebound from such an emotional game (Saturday) night,' said Team Canada associate coach and general manager Mike Johnston. 'After Italy scored twice in the second they were able to hang on with strong defensive play and outstanding goaltending from Mario Brunetta.'
Brunetta, born in Quebec City and a product of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, played 40 games in
parts of three seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, now the Colorado Avalanche. Blair Allison of Golden, B.C.,
started in goal for Canada, but was replaced in favor of Eric Raymond, of Montreal
at 16:47 of the second period.
Next week, Team Canada travels to Oslo, Norway to participate in the Rimi Cup tournament against Austria, Switzerland and the host Norwegians.
Canada opens that competition against Austria on Friday, November 8. The National Team plays Switzerland on Saturday and faces off against Norway on Sunday before returning to Canada on Monday.