Shantz determined to make squad

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

David Shantz has some unfinished business when Canada and the 2005 world junior championship come to mind.

The Mississauga IceDogs netminder is in the running to earn an invitation to Canada's selection camp in December and he's looking to make the best impression possible after suffering a groin injury at the evaluation camp in August, cutting short his audition.

"I've set a lot of high goals for myself and being on the (national) junior team is one I want to achieve," Shantz said. "But shooting for the OHLchampionship here in Mississauga is the main priority. I just want to focus on the game Ihave been blessed to play."

Encouraging for Shantz, a Hamilton native who shone as an OHLrookie last season, is the wide-open race for the two goaltending spots. Although Canada could have as many as 13 players return from the club that won silver in Finland last winter, none tend goal. Among those in the OHLwho will compete with Shantz for an invitation are Ryan Munce of the Sarnia Sting and Justin Peters of the St. Michael's Majors.

Meanwhile, Hockey Canada head scout Blair Mackasey said the organization has thought of decreasing the number of players invited to the selection camp. If each player eligible to come back from last winter makes the club -- there are four defencemen and nine forwards in that group -- there would be openings for three defencemen and four forwards. Two forward spots will be for Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton, who played last season for the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers respectively, to lose if the lockout continues.

In years where there are more roster openings, upward of 34 players have been invited to the selection camp.

"It's one of the things we're discussing -- do we need to invite as many players?"Mackasey said. "We could have as long a camp as we usually do, but we could focus more on our preparation for the tournament. We'll be able to judge this better (in the next month or two)."

RUSSIANS COMING

The CHL Canada/Russia Challenge that was born a year ago has been confirmed for this season. Starting on Nov. 22 in Quebec City, Canada's best players who are eligible to skate for the 2005 world junior team will take part in a six-game series against Russian select squad. Other matches will be held Nov. 23 in Montreal, Nov. 25 in Barrie, Nov. 29 in Mississauga, Dec. 1 in Red Deer and Dec. 2 in Lethbridge.

A roster of players from each of the OHL, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will play two games apiece. Nineteen players who participated in the event represented Canada at the 2004 world junior.

BRIEFLY

It's "very unlikely" Jeff Carter of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will play tonight against the Sarnia Sting after missing two games with a bruised knee, Soo coach Marty Abrams said. The Greyhounds (0-4) are the lone OHLteam without a point and have scored just seven goals, with only two at even-strength ... Rane Carnegie, formerly of the Belleville Bulls and Plymouth Whalers, is playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL ... Forward Shawn Futers is fitting in well with the combustible London Knights after a trade from the Peterborough Petes. Futers has 30 penalty minutes in five games, putting him on pace for 408.


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