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USA and Canada look ready ...

by Mike G. Morreale /
The National Junior Teams for the United States and Canada closed our their exhibition schedule on Thursday with decisive victories.

Team USA scored a 6-1 triumph over Norway -- its first pre-tournament win in three games -- at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena in Jamestown, N.Y. Team Canada earned a 4-1 victory over Finland at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

For the Americans, New York Islanders prospect Brock Nelson scored two first-period goals and goalies Jack Campbell and Andy Iles combined for 18 saves in the triumph over the Norwegians.

"It was a great atmosphere here in Jamestown tonight and we thank the community for their support," said Keith Allain, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. I thought we took a step forward tonight and we're looking forward to opening the tournament against Finland on Sunday."

The big question for Team Canada leading into their first preliminary-round match with the Russians on Sunday is … who will start in goal?

After a 5-2 victory over Finland, no one was willing to provide any insight into the matter.

"We'll wait and see. I don't know yet," Phoenix Coyotes prospect Mark Visentin said after making 18 saves to pick up his second exhibition victory. Canada finished 3-0 against pre-tournament competition.

Edmonton Oilers prospect Olivier Roy proved his ability in a 4-1 victory over tough Sweden on Tuesday.

"Whether I played half, didn't play at all or played the full game, to me it was just to focus on the task at hand," Visintin said. "The task given to me was the full game and I'm really happy we won."

Canada coach Dave Cameron seems to be enjoying the banter regarding the big secret.

"What's a conundrum? Somebody said I had a goalie conundrum. Is that bad?" Cameron asked.

"This has been an ongoing thing through the summer camp, through the regular season, through these three games. It won't be my decision alone, like everything else it will be a coaching staff decision."

Finland opened a 1-0 lead on a goal by Henri Tuominen before Canada captain Ryan Ellis scored to give the Canadians life. Canada's power-play quarterback, Ellis, tied the score 26 seconds into the second, one-timing a pass from Jaden Schwartz past goalie Joni Ortio. Ellis was the 13th different player to score for Team Canada in exhibition play.

Ryan Johansen scored twice, becoming the first Canadian to score more than once in exhibition play and 2011 draft-eligible prospect Sean Couturier also connected.
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