GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- His time has finally come. After waiting patiently at the end of the Team Canada bench, opening the gate and acting as a cheerleader for teammates for the first two games, Winnipeg's Rejean Beauchemin will make his World Junior Championship debut tonight.
Head coach Brent Sutter told Beauchemin last night he'll get the call against Germany today, as Canada tries to improve its record to 3-0.
"It's what I've been waiting for," Beauchemin said, as he visited with excited family members after yesterday's 8-1 victory over Sweden.
Beauchemin's insertion is no reflection on the play of Jeff Glass, Canada's starter the first two games.
Glass has been as sharp as he's needed to be in lopsided wins over Slovakia and Sweden, and figures to carry the load again against Finland Thursday.
Sutter, though, obviously wants both his goalies to stay involved.
As difficult as it's been to not play -- Beauchemin is a workhorse with Prince Albert of the Western League -- the Philadelphia Flyers draft pick has continued to work hard in practice, just in case.
"One thing I've kind of learned is no matter where you go, you're always being watched, really," Beauchemin said earlier this week. "You've got to take it that way. It makes you perform better."
MORE LIKE IT: Yesterday's game against Sweden had a much more electric atmosphere than Canada's opener, as a flag-waving crowd of 10,739 rocked the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"They were really loud," Team Canada captain Michael Richards said. "You can't help but start running people."
Richards said the crowd reminded him of the sold out pre-tournament games in Winnipeg.
There was no mistaking how many fans were from Winnipeg, either, as chants of "Go Jets go" even rained down on the ice.
"That's one of the biggest differences from Finland last year," returning forward Nigel Dawes of Winnipeg said. "The fans are great and giving us lots of support, and there's times we feed off that. I'm sure it's just going to get better as the tournament goes on."
Canada's leading goal scorer last year, Dawes broke out of a mini-slump with his first goal of the tournament yesterday, making it 3-1 in the second.
"It was an important time of the game," Dawes said. "It wasn't the prettiest goal, but we were throwing a lot on net and it found its way in."
NOT FORGOTTEN: The memory of the Jets is actually on display 24-7 at The Ralph.
At one end, hanging alongside all the NHL banners, hangs a Jets pennant, emblematic of the UND alumni who played for the former NHL club.
And individual pictures players like Dave Christian, Doug Smail and Brad Berry, along with Winnipeggers Bob Joyce and Russ Romaniuk, all in their Jets jerseys, are on display throughout the concourse.