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USA goalies impress against Finland

Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 8:43 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

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USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog
USA goalies impress against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- John Gibson stopped 12 of 13 shots in just over 35 minutes of action Wednesday in Team USA's 5-2 win against Finland. While it's assumed the starting job for the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship is Gibson's to lose, the Anaheim Ducks prospect isn't ready to put himself in any spot in the lineup just yet.

"Obviously I've had conversations with the coaching staff, but regardless of what's said I want to play my best and not really think about No. 1 or whatever," Gibson told NHL.com. "I just want to go out and play and earn my spot."

His best save came midway through the first period, when Finland's Robert Leino got loose on a shorthanded breakaway, but Gibson got his pads on Leino's shot.

Gibson was replaced by Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Garret Sparks with 4:49 left in the second period and he stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced. The only puck to get past Sparks was with two minutes left in the second when Miro Aaltonen beat him between his pads on a mini-break.

He recovered to make a nice save on Buffalo Sabres top prospect Joel Armia early in the third when the U.S. team led 3-2, then in the final minute he did the splits to stop a drive by Finland captain and Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick Olli Maatta on a five-on-three Finland advantage.

U.S. coach Phil Housley said he was happy with how both his netminders played.

"For the most part the goals that they got we sort of gave it to them," he said. "As far as our goaltenders, they're making stops at the right time. Both of them made key stops when they were in the net at times in the game where we needed a big save."

With the U.S. team playing again Wednesday, it's expected Jon Gillies and/or Anthony Stolarz will get the chance in goal. With two games left to evaluate the 34 players at camp, Housley has said he wants to get every player an opportunity in a game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players