Jonah Gadjovich nets goals, sportsmanship points at world juniors

Canada's Jonah Gadjovich, left, scores a goal on Slovakia goalie David Hrenak during the third period of IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary round hockey action in Buffalo, N.Y. Wednesday Dec. 27, 2017. (Mark Blinch/CP)

As he lights up the scoresheet for Canada at the world junior championship, Jonah Gadjovich is also sparking interest among Vancouver Canucks fans as a forward with puck sense, go-to-the-net grit and even some dignified sportsmanship.

At the tournament in Buffalo, the Owen Sound Attack forward has three points in two games, including a goal on the power play and honours as player of the game in a 6-0 win over Slovakia yesterday.

In a phone interview with Randip Janda and Bhupinder Hundal today on Sportsnet 650, the Vancouver Canucks 2017 second-round pick says he is embracing his assignment with Canada.

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Gadjovich says he’ll be “a guy that can play up and down the lineup and someone that is going to be there to contribute and doesn’t always have to be getting on the scoresheet.

“It’s just playing hard, finishing my check, blocking shots and doing whatever it takes to win,” he says. “If I can do that and motivate the team in that way, I’ll be successful.”

Chipping in offensively is a bonus for the 19-year-old forward from Whitby, Ont., who is still working to become stronger and faster on his skates.

But it’s Gadjovich’s muted celebration after scoring Canada’s sixth goal against Slovakia that’s also earning him accolades.

Canada faces the U.S. tomorrow in an outdoor game at New Era Field where temperatures could fall as low as -14 C.

He said they’re playing with “swagger” since gelling as a team over two wins, but won’t take the U.S. and this storied rivalry lightly.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who it is in the next game. It’s the most important game right now.”

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Canada and the U.S. play at 11 a.m. PT Friday.

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