GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- With the medal round just around the corner, the number of Manitobans playing a prominent role for Canada looks to be down to one. Following yesterday's 8-1 win over Finland, which locked up first place in Group B and sent Canada straight to Sunday's semifinal at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship, head coach Brent Sutter essentially said goalie Jeff Glass would continue to be the starter.
That would leave Winnipeg's Rejean Beauchemin on the bench.
The news is worse for Winnipeg defenceman Cam Barker.
Barker missed yesterday's game with what Sutter called a touch of the flu.
But last night, Barker was told he has mononucleosis, ending his tournament prematurely.
"It's a pretty hopeless feeling," Barker told The Sun. "I can't really do anything about it."
Barker had been feeling ill for about a week. He was moved to his own hotel room in order to prevent the spread of any possible virus to teammates.
He'd been hoping to recuperate in time to help Canada go for its first gold medal in seven years.
Instead, he'll be returning to Winnipeg this morning.
"It's just a bad situation," he said. "I just wish the guys all the best."
Barker was taking a regular shift and seeing time on the power play, even scoring his first goal of the tournament Tuesday night in a 9-0 win over Germany. But he missed practice the next morning.
Team Canada issued a new release late last night confirming the diagnosis.
Teams can't add players due to sickness or injury, except for goalies.
Which brings us back to Glass.
His getting the call for Sunday's game was not a startling development -- he's improved steadily since a mediocre outing in the opening game against Slovakia.
While Beauchemin is not expected to start again and Barker is out, the heat is on Nigel Dawes to carry the load for the Manitoba trio.
Dawes, who tied for the team lead in scoring with 11 points last year, has one goal and three assists in four games and is playing on a line with captain Mike Richards and Anthony Stewart.