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McDonald expected to start Saturday at WJC exhibition game

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

As per TSN, Calgary Flames prospect Mason McDonald will get the start in net on Saturday when Canada faces off against Belarus in a World Junior Championship exhibition game in Imatra, Finland.

It is expected that McDonald and Samuel Montembeault will split time in tomorrow's game. Canadian head coach Dave Lowry has not made a decision on which netminder will get the start on Sunday when his team faces the Czech Republic.

MacKenzie Blackwood is the other netminder at Canada's camp but due to an Ontario Hockey League suspension, he is ineligible to play the first two games of the tournament. Montembeault was brought in after the suspension had been issued, presumably filling Blackwood's spot until he is eligible to play again.

Prior to heading to Finland, Canada played the CIS All-Stars in Toronto. McDonald got the start in one of those tilts, stopping 27 of 31 shots in a 5-4 shootout setback on Dec. 12.

McDonald, the Flames second round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, wants to improve upon that effort and get himself set for the tournament's opening game on Dec. 26 against the United States.

"I'm really excited. It was a long week of practice and it was a good, hard week. I'm looking forward to getting into the game," he told TSN on Friday.

"It's big. That's key. I want to have some good playing time here, have some good games, and bring that momentum into the start of the tournament."

Canada is expected to dress eight defencemen against Belarus tomorrow, which means there is a good chance Flames prospect Brandon Hickey will suit up on Saturday.

Hickey, who was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft, is the only collegiate player at the selection camp. The Boston University sophomore is one of nine skaters vying for a spot on Canada's blueline.

CANADA'S PRACTICE LINES & PAIRINGS

FORWARDS

Lawson Crouse - Dylan Strome - Mitch Marner

Brendan Perlini - Brayden Point - Jake Virtanen

John Quenneville - Anthony Beauvillier - Julien Gauthier

Rourke Chartier - Mitchell Stephens - Travis Konecny

Nick Merkley - Mathew Barzal - Jayce Hawryluk

DEFENCE

Haydn Fleury - Noah Juulsen

Thomas Chabot - Joe Hicketts

Jérémy Lauzon - Roland McKeown

Travis Dermott - Brandon Hickey

Travis Sanheim

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