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Gibson set in net for Americans

by Mike G. Morreale

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- If there's one player on the U.S. National Junior Team selection camp roster with a good idea what players for Canada might expect from coach Steve Spott, it's Kitchener Rangers goalie John Gibson.

Gibson just so happens to be Spott's starting goalie in Kitchener. He's currently second in the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.13 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Spott, of course, is the coach for the Rangers when he's not instructing the Canadian National Junior Team.

Originally chosen by Kitchener in the 11th round of the 2009 OHL priority draft, Gibson would later be selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of 2011 NHL Draft. Gibson, who was signed by Spott to an OHL contract on July 27, 2011, is already penciled in as the U.S. starter for the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

Gibson was asked if he felt Spott would be under any pressure as the coach for the Canadian team, which is coming off a third-place finish at the 2012 WJC.

"That club is obviously good, and they haven't won a gold medal in a while [since 2009]," Gibson told "This is a big year so I think there's pressure on [Spott] and his team, but there's no doubt they'll be well prepared and ready to go from the start."

A loss to Russia in the tournament semifinal round last year assured that Canada would not be playing for a gold medal for the first time since 2001.

In addition to being one of three returning players for the Americans at the U.S. camp this week at the Rangers' practice facility, Gibson was also the starting goalie for the gold medal-winning American team at the 2011 World Under-18 Championship in Germany. He won all six of his starts, had a 2.34 GAA and a .926 save percentage and was named Best Goaltender of the tournament.

The United States is scheduled to meet Canada on Dec. 30 in preliminary-round action of Group B at Ufa Arena in Russia. Gibson said he and Spott have never discussed international play.

"We don't talk about it," he said. "All the guys focus on our team. When we go away to join our international teams, we're focused on that. There's not much talking going on."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale

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