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Canada extends shutout streak into 2007 world junior hockey championship

Tue Dec 26, 7:52 PM

By Donna Spencer
LEKSAND, Sweden (CP) - Canada picked up where it left off at the world junior men's hockey championship by giving up nary a goal.
Goaltender Carey Price of the Tri-City Americans stopped all 31 shots he faced for the defending champions in a 2-0 win over host Sweden on Tuesday.
Canada's shutout streak goes back deep into the 2006 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver.
It stands at 211 minutes 50 seconds heading into Wednesday's game against the U.S.
Canada hasn't given up a goal at the tournament since its final round-robin game against the U.S. in Vancouver.
Justin Pogge was in net for shutouts against Finland in the semifinal and Russia in the final en route to gold in Vancouver.
Price put in the same confident, reliable performance as his predecessor to open the tournament in Leksand.
"He made some big saves, but I don't think he made saves where he was flopping and diving for pucks, which is a sign he's under control and following the puck," Canadian head coach Craig Hartsburg said. "When we did get in trouble at times on penalty killing or in our end, he seemed to calm things down with a big save."
The Canadians played a textbook road game by scoring first to quiet the Swedish crowd at Ejendals Arena and winning the battle on special teams.
Canada's offence is still a work in progress, but power-play goals by Moncton Wildcats defenceman Luc Bourdon and Val-d'Or Foreurs forward Brad Marchand were enough to get the job done.
Val-d'Or defenceman and Canadian captain Kristopher Letang had two assists.
Price earned a second start with his performance and he'll face the reeling Americans on Wednesday (1 p.m. ET).
Germany's 2-1 overtime win over the U.S. was just one of two stunning upsets Tuesday as Belarus also edged Finland 4-3 in Pool B.
Germany and Belarus were promoted to this tournament by winning their respective second-tier world championships last year.
Russia edged the Czech Republic 3-2 in a Pool B game in Mora, where Canada and the U.S. will square off Wednesday.
The team with the best record in each pool earns a bye to the semifinal while the runners-up cross over to play the third-place teams in the quarter-finals.
With their toughest teams still ahead of them in Pool A, the Americans have an uphill climb to gain the bye.
Canada's defence kept the Swedes away from Price for the most part, but he had to step up early in the second period when the Swedes pressed and also during seven power-play opportunities for the hosts.
"I don't let a whole lot get to me out on the ice and I like to win," said Price, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick.
In a Christmas gift-exchange with his teammates prior to the tournament opener, Price was presented with donuts.
"It was a hint for tonight," said forward Marc-Andre Cliche.
The Canadians needed to produce with a man advantage because their five-on-five attack was choppy. They coughed up the puck in the neutral zone several times either overhandling the puck or trying to force a pass through the middle.
"Most people say we don't have the most skilled team, but we're trying to play a simple game and not be too complicated," Marchand said. "If we get the odd power-play goal here and there, that will make the difference in the games."
The game was announced a sellout at 7,650. There were a few empty seats, but people were lined up two and three rows deep behind the seats at each end of the ice.
The round-robin format of the tournament was revamped this year. Games can no longer end in ties and will be decided by overtime or a shootout, if needed.
A win in regulation time is worth three points, an overtime or shootout victory is worth two and a loss in overtime or a shootout earns a team one point.
CP Player of the Game - Jonathan Toews. University of North Dakota forward tirelessly fought through checks to create scoring chances around the Swedish net.
Notes - American Peter Mueller was the last player to score on a Canadian team at the world junior championship and that was at 8:10 of the second period of a 3-2 loss to Canada in the final preliminary round game at the 2006 tournament ... Defenceman Cody Franson (Vancouver Giants) and forward Darren Helm (Medicine Hat Tigers) and Kenndal McArdle (Vancouver Giants) made their international debut for Canada as they had never played before at an under-18 or under-17 level.


Copyright 2006 Canadian Press