May 14, 2013
London Knights beat the buzzer, win OHL championship over Barrie Colts in Game 7
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
LONDON, ONT. - You see stuff like this in basketball.
Football, too, every once in a while.
But a virtual buzzer beater in hockey, in Game 7 of the OHL final with a Memorial Cup berth hanging in the balance?
That's nothing but a pipe dream.
Unless, of course, you're Bo Horvat.
The London forward and deserving OHL playoff MVP played last-second, third-period hero again, just like he did in the first round against Saginaw, only this one was a million times bigger.
He beat the clock and finally knocked out the stubborn Barrie Colts with a 3-2 win to deliver the Knights their third league title and first back-to-back crowns in franchise history before 9,046 Monday night at Budweiser Gardens.
Horvat, who scored 16 goals in these playoffs, has a feeling he'll be seeing that goal shown over and over again for the rest of his life.
“It might be playing sometimes,” the 18-year-old Rodney native said with a grin, “but I'm just enjoying the moment and I'm so happy we won. It was a helluva play (by Alex Broadhurst) throwing it at the net and I just went for the rebound and it went post and in.
“I thought for sure it went in and fortunately for us, it did.”
Bo time means 'Toon time for London. They're going back to the Memorial Cup, this time in Saskatoon, for the second straight year to try to avenge last year's overtime loss in Shawinigan.
The Horvat goal was originally waved off. Both teams had to wait through an excruciatingly long video review.
The packed house chanted, “It's a goal” over and over.
“The longer they (the officials) talked, I thought the better chance it was (going to count),” London captain Scott Harrington said. “ I was just kind of praying the longer it took, it was more likely going to be a goal.”
The Colts were on the other side begging a higher power – and the video goal judge – to disallow it.
“They looked at it extensively – it felt like hours,” Barrie captain Ryan O'Connor said. We were all biting our finger nails and crossing our fingers hoping it wasn't. It's a heartbreaker and every guy on this team is sick to their stomach. I really don't think words can explain it to come this far and lose with (one second left).
“That's the worst way to lose.”
And it's a legendary way to win.
With one referee point to centre ice, the Knights exploded in joy and the shocked Colts slumped in agony.
The Knights are the 10th OHL team since 1987 to win a Game 7. They're the third to battle back from 3-1 down in the final and win it (after the 1990 Oshawa Generals and 1979 Peterborough Petes).
London suffered another collapse, surrendering the game-tying goal to Mitchell Theoret, a bitter IceDog last year, with three minutes left, the 19th goal the Colts scored in the third period this series.
Barrie thought it had its fairy-tale ending a minute later, but Knights goalie Jake Patterson, who came off the bench to win three straight games, made a desperate pad save.
Colts forward Josh MacDonald, a Londoner, bounced the rebound off the cross bar and out. That one was denied on a second look in the review room.
London head coach Dale Hunter can thank his lucky stars for high-quality video cameras.
“That's one thing great about video,” he said. “They don't get it wrong then. It's the right call.
"Video really helps.”
The Knights had a lot going for them in Game 7. Barrie's top line was decimated.
Star centre Mark Scheifele couldn't answer the bell after taking a Josh Anderson hit Saturday in Game 6. Anthony Camara was suspended and Zach Hall ran on fumes.
They still nearly won.
“Bo gets the winner with one second left – that's how hard the competition is in this league,” Dale Hunter said. “It's hard to win this trophy. It's hard to win it anytime. We've been here a long time (12 years) and it's only our third time. Do the math.
“Both are character teams and put up a great fight.”
There has never been a game quite like this one. It's hard to remember a series this close in Knights history.
“It was a lot tougher to win this one,” London sniper Seth Griffith said, “and it might be a little more sweeter this time.”
And it was all triggered by one more unforgettable moment by Buzzer Beater Bo.