Glass not likely to crack

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Pressure, what pressure? As he prepares for the biggest start of his budding hockey career, goalie Jeff Glass is embracing the opportunity with open arms.

The Calgarian will be between the pipes for Canada against the Czech Republic in the semifinal of the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship and he can hardly wait.

"Now it's for all the marbles," Glass said yesterday as Canada finished final preparations at the Gambucci Arena. "We're going to go out there and play our hearts out. We're not going to be looking to hold back."

After a so-so performance in the tournament opener against Slovakia, Glass has solidified his spot as the go-to guy.

With two goals against in his final two starts, Glass finished the round robin with a 3-0 record, a 1.67 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.

Just because the games begin to take on the sudden-death mentality, Glass doesn't plan to change his game now.

"What have I been talking about to you guys the whole time? Everything seems to be new around here but I welcome that with open arms," said Glass, who has never played in a Game 7. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Team Canada has dominated opponents throughout the tournament, outscoring the opposition by a count of 32-5.

But Canada's play in the defensive zone has been equally impressive.

With a bruising defence corps that can move the puck and a collection of skilled and abrasive forwards committed to working hard in all three zones, Canada has been virtually unstoppable.

But once you get to the semis, all of that can go down the drain with one bad outing, sometimes even one bad period as Canada found out the hard way in the 4-3 loss to the United States in the gold medal game last year.

"We know it's a Game 7 game and it's all on the line now," said Team Canada forward Sidney Crosby. "It's crunch time and you work hard to get here. This is what the round robin is for, to get to this point. This is why we all play. It's times like these where you really see what your team is made of.

"We know if we go out there and play our game the way we know how, we're putting ourselves in a good situation to win. That's our main focus. We can't worry about anything else but that."

"You don't want to change too much," added Winnipegger Nigel Dawes. "You want to keep going hard, play the body as much as we can and be very strong defensively."

Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter has been preaching from the beginning that Canada won't become complacent or be satisfied with what has happened to date. He reiterated that message in his meeting with the media yesterday.

"You want your team to get better in every area and you want to strive for perfection," said Sutter. "That's what our goal is and that's what we push for every day and what the kids are going after. That, to me, is all between the ears and (about) having a good mental mindset. Being in the right frame of mind, I guess, is the best way to put it."


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