Using his head.
He may not have gotten on the score sheet, but Canucks prospect Bo Horvat played a big part in Canada’s come from behind victory over Slovakia at World Junior Hockey Championships on Monday in Malmo, Sweden.
Horvat finished the game with no goals or assists, but it was his face that was on the receiving end of a high stick from Slovakian defenseman Jakub Predajniansky that gave Canada a late third period power-play where Ni c Petan was able to find the back of the net to pull Canada out in front with 2:46 remaining en route to a 5-3 win.
Petan added an empty netter and also picked up one assist, while Anthony Mantha finished with a goal and three assists to pace the offence for Canada, who trailed 3-1 at one point in the middle stanza and 3-2 going into the third period.
Jonathan Drouin and Curtis Lazar both picked up a goal and a helper for Canada, which improves to 2-0-1 at the tournament and will face-off against their arch-rivals, the United States, on Tuesday (8:30am PST) to close out the preliminary round portion of the tournament.
Horvat finished with two shots on goal in the game, but it was his shots that didn’t make it to the net that were most noticeable. Seven minutes into the third period, he had a wide-open net as the puck came to him at the side of the goal, but the London Knights star couldn’t find the puck in his feet. Then with 4:22 left on the clock and the Canadians down by one, the puck once again came to Horvat at the side of the net, but he couldn’t get his stick on it, falling in the process.
Horvat finished 8-for-14 (57%) in the faceoff circle and now sits at 63% (26-for-41) in the tournament.
The Rodney, Ontario product started the game on his usual line with Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid, but after penalty trouble for the Canadians and coach Brent Sutter shortening the bench, the lines went into a blender. Horvat played with his London Knights teammate Josh Anderson and Scott Laughton for a few shifts, before finishing the game with Laughton and McDavid
With Canada trailing 3-2 with just over six minutes left in regulation, Horvat fed the puck to McDavid who went in all alone and found the back of the net, only to have the ref call back the goal saying McDavid gloved the puck and carried it for too long. Just seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Canada was able to find the equalizer.
This was the first game of the tournament Horvat didn’t produce a point, but the third period may have been the best he has played so far.