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Canada opens defence of world junior title with Bernier in goal @NHL

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic - Jonathan Bernier will start in goal when Canada opens the world junior hockey championship on Wednesday.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg gave the nod Monday to the 19-year-old from Laval, Que. Canada opens defence of its title and starts chasing the country's fourth straight gold medal against the host Czech Republic (2 p.m. ET).

Bernier, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, stopped 23 of 24 shots he faced in Canada's 6-1 exhibition win Thursday against Slovakia, which had 13 power plays in the game.

He and Steve Mason each made nine saves while splitting time during a 5-0 win over Austrian club team Red Bull Salzburg on Dec. 17.

Mason, property of the Columbus Blue Jackets, made 31 saves on 33 shots in Canada's 4-2 win over Finland on Sunday in Chrudin, Czech Republic.

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