KOSICE, Slovakia — Mark Stone scored a power-play with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to give Canada a 6-5 win over host Slovakia on Monday at the world hockey championship.
Stone took a pass from defenceman Thomas Chabot in the right face-off circle and fired a shot past Slovak goaltender Marek Ciliak to cap a wild game that saw Canada rally from a pair of two-goal deficits.
The goal, Stone’s first of the tournament, stunned the vocal pro-Slovak crowd at Kosice’s Steel Arena. Defenceman Martin Fehervaey broke his stick on the crossbar of the Slovak goal in frustration as Canada celebrated.
"We came back twice from two-goal deficits, three of their goals go off our players," said Canada head coach Alain Vigneault. "We just kept plugging away and kept playing, and we were able to score a big goal on the power play at the end with a couple seconds left.
"We found a way to win, we felt that this game was important for us because we knew it was going to be a really hostile environment. There was a lot of emotion from both teams on the ice, but at the end of the day we found a way to win and that’s what this game is all about."
Canada’s offence has been explosive the last two games despite the loss of top forward John Tavares to an oblique injury before the tournament began. Canada was coming off an 8-0 win over Great Britain on Sunday.
Anthony Mantha and Shea Theodore each had a goal and an assist for Canada, which went 3-for-4 on the power play. Jonathan Marchessault, Anthony Cirelli and Troy Stecher also scored. Kyle Turris, Damon Severson and Chabot each added two assists.
Matus Sukel and Adam Liska had two goals each for Slovakia. Ladislav Nagy also scored for the hosts, who gave up leads of 2-0 and 4-2 in the game.
Matt Murray made 26 saves for Canada, while Ciliak and Patrik Rybar combined to stop 22 shots for Slovakia.
Sukel and Liska scored just over a minute apart in the first period to give Slovakia the early lead but Canada responded by the end of the period with goals from Mantha and Theodore. Mantha assisted on Theodore’s goal to give him a tournament-leading seven points (three goals, four assists) in three games.
Nagy and Liska restored Slovakia’s 4-2 lead with the first two goals of the second but Canada stormed back. A power-play goal from Marchessault cut the lead to 4-3, then Canada surged ahead with goals from Cirelli and Stecher, ending Rybar’s night.
Sukel’s second goal of the game 11:45 into the third forged a 5-5 tie before Stone cemented the win for Canada.
"You watch (Slovakia) play against Finland and they came out hard. Against the Americans, they were fast starters," said Stone. "We just had to keep playing our game, we know we have a good team and we are going to get our chances. We just needed to make sure we capitalized on them."
Canada moved into third place in Group A with six points on two regulation wins and a loss. Finland, which lost 3-2 to the United States on Monday, led with seven points while Germany was second with six points on two regulation wins. Slovakia fell to sixth in the group with one regulation win and two losses.
Germany will play its third game Tuesday against France. Canada’s next contest is Thursday, also against France.