Nic Petan and his Canadian teammates are off to a so-so start at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden.
The U20 tournament – which has become a holiday tradition for Canadian hockey fans – began Boxing Day in Malmo, Sweden, with Canada thumping Germany 7-2 in the round-robin opener. The team faltered in their second matchup Saturday morning, however, losing 5-4 in a shootout to the Czech Republic.
The win over Germany was highlighted by a hat-trick from Quebec’s Anthony Mantha, but Petan, too, got into the action in the third period. He scored his team’s seventh and final goal, tapping the puck into the Germany net after a wrap-around attempt by teammate Connor McDavid. Petan also had three shots on goal in the win.
Petan, who has been playing on a forward line with Kerby Rychel and fellow Western Hockey League Curtiz Lazar, was held off the scoresheet against the Czechs, though he was one of Canada’s better forwards. He was also one of three Canadian players to take part in the shootout, though he did not score on Czech goalie Marek Langhamer.
In their third game Monday morning, Canada was set to face Slovakia.
Petan, a 19-year-old North Delta native whose family now resides in White Rock, is in his third full season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. He is a Winnipeg Jets prospect, having been selected by the team in the second round (43rd overall) in last June’s NHL Entry Draft.
Before joining Team Canada, Petan was second among WHL scorers with 20 goals and 66 points in 32 games played, and is a team-best plus-25.
Last season, the 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward tallied 46 goals and added 74 assists in 71 games.
In August, he was among 33 players invited to Hockey Canada’s summer camp for prospective world-junior players, and in early December was one of 25 players to try out for the team; 22 made the cut.
The Canadian squad has been in Europe since before Christmas, and played a few pre-tournament exhibition contests prior to their Dec. 26 opener. In the final tune-up game – a 4-1 win over Switzerland on Dec. 23 – Petan was named player of the game.