Junior goalies trying to prove their worth

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Unbreakable Glass is what Team Canada wants. With the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship set to open tomorrow in Grand Forks, N.D., and Thief River Falls, Minn., Jeff Glass looks to be following in the footsteps of goalies like Jimmy Waite, Marc Denis, Manny Legace, Roberto Luongo, Pascal Leclaire and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Although head coach Brent Sutter didn't officially his Game 1 starter yesterday morning -- in fact, he didn't address the media at all -- it is expected that Glass will get the call over Winnipegger Rejean Beauchemin against Slovakia.

"It's phenomenal," said Glass, who is 13-7-2 with a 1.69 GAA and three shutouts in 22 games with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. "I don't think it's sunk in yet and I don't think it really will until the tournament is over. That's fine with me. I'm going to keep riding this fun run."

Glass says boredom hasn't been an issue, despite the limited action he's seen during intrasquad and exhibition games so far.

"Not at all, I do whatever it takes to stay focused -- talking to the D-men, playing the puck," said Glass, who stopped 10 shots in Canada's 6-0 win over Finland on Monday.

Winnipegger Nigel Dawes sees Glass on a regular basis and is confident in his abilities.

DEFENSIVE

"He's definitely someone you want back there," said Dawes. "That's what makes goalies good, to be able to stay focused and not let it get to them when they could go five, six minutes without a shot and then, all of a sudden, get a breakaway or a good quality shot. Especially, on our team, we're going to play so defensive so that could happen in some games."

Things could change, but Beauchemin won't likely see his next action until Dec. 28 against Germany.

With 12 returnees and an abundance of depth, one of the only question marks revolving around this team is with goaltending, but Glass considers that a challenge.

"For sure, I've had to prove myself all along," said Glass. "I haven't been invited to anything and now that I get my chance I want to keep proving myself. I don't want to stop now, I'm just going to keep going."

Beauchemin says that no matter who gets the call in the opener, he'll be ready whenever Sutter taps him on the shoulder.

"I'm not going to get too preoccupied about it right now," said Beauchemin, the Prince Albert Raiders keeper who turned aside 14 shots for a shutout in Wednesday's 5-0 victory over Switzerland. "We'll wait and see what happens. I'll be ready at any time."

Following Wednesday's win, Sutter said he'd make his final decision about who starts the tournament opener after tomorrow's practice in Grand Forks.


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