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Goaltending making Hockey Canada decisions hard

by Mike G. Morreale

If there was one thing that coaches will take away from the opening day of Hockey Canada's National Junior Team selection camp in Calgary on Tuesday, it was that making final decisions won't come easy.

Canada's selection camp, which runs through Thursday at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park, will help determine the 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goalies who will represent the country at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, which runs Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.

Canada coach Steve Spott said prior to Tuesday's intrasquad game between a Red team and a White team that some players could be released from camp Wednesday after a game against the University of Alberta. The Canadian National Junior Team will be announced Thursday following a second game against the university squad.

Despite the presence of world-class players on both offense and defense, the story of Day One was the Canadian goaltending.

"All four guys were solid," Spott said following the intrasquad game. "I had a quick meeting with [goalie coach] Ron Tugnutt after the game and we were really pleased with the effort of all four goaltenders."

There are 36 players at camp, including four goalies vying for two spots and one emergency backup role.

"They were all outstanding so it doesn't make it easier," Spott said. "And looking at the game tonight, how tight it was out there, the checking and the pace, it definitely makes our decisions tough moving forward."

Jake Paterson of the Saginaw Spirit of Ontario Hockey League started in net for White and stopped all 10 shots he faced, while Red counterpart Jordan Binnington of the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL stopped all five shots he faced.

Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls of the OHL allowed two goals on 16 shots in relief of Paterson, while Laurent Brossoit of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League stopped 17 of 18 in his half.

Brossoit yielded goals to White's Ty Rattie, Charles Hudon and Tyler Graovac during a planned shootout.

Sudbury Wolves defenseman Frank Corrado scored the decisive goal for Red with just 1:03 left in the third period in a 3-1 victory. Corrado's teammate and Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining.

"Ryan's stick, his vision and ability to pull the puck off the boards to make plays was great," Spott said. "I think the biggest challenge moving forward is how well Mark Scheifele [of the Barrie Colts of the OHL] adjusts to right wing."

"All four guys were solid. I had a quick meeting with [goalie coach] Ron Tugnutt after the game and we were really pleased with the effort of all four goaltenders."
-- Canada coach Steve Spott

Nugent-Hopkins centered the top line for Red, between left wing Jonathan Huberdeau and Scheifele.

Red also got a goal from Phillip Danault, who beat Subban 14:20 into the third. White's lone goal was scored by 2013 NHL Draft-eligible forward Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. Shinkaruk, in fact, was one of five draft-eligible players starring in the game.

Linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and J.C. Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL formed the second line for Red.

Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's of the OHL played for White on a line with center Tyler Graovac and right wing Mark McNeill.

"It felt good to get that goal," Shinkaruk said. "When I hit the post I was kind of like, 'Awww, really?' but when the second one went in, it felt really good and it was a breath of fresh air."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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