Pogge's star continues to shine bright

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Justin Pogge really couldn't have had a easier time in the round-robin of the world junior.

Canada's goalie and a blue-chip Maple Leafs prospect, Pogge gathered up his fourth win last night with a 22-save performance against the U.S. in a 3-2 win.

Though he did not need to make more than a handful of difficult saves, Pogge was named Canada's player of the game after hearing his name chanted at times in the Pacific Coliseum.

"That was not hard to hear, because it was so loud," Pogge said of the chants. "It was probably the biggest game of my life and it will take some time to sink in. It was great having a win against the Americans on home soil."

Pogge, who has allowed just one even-strength goal in the tournament, was aided by yet another tight defensive performance in front of him. Not only did Canada shut down the talented Americans such as Phil Kessel and Rob Schremp, it put forth a strong forecheck.

Leading the way on the blue line again was the pair of Marc Staal, of the Sudbury Wolves, and Ryan Parent, of the Guelph Storm. They had a large role in limiting Kessel to one assist.

"They have played well since Day 1 and they are two workhorses who understand the game very well," coach Brent Sutter said. "Their detail is very good and that is why they are top defencemen. As a coach you expect that from them."

Among the many positives for Canada last night, some stick out. One, the players were relieved they were allowed by referee Marcus Vinnerborg to play a hard-nosed game.

"It is a credit to him, to let us to play to our identity," forward Ryan O'Marra said.

And two, Canada now will have a couple of off-days --practice for today has been cancelled -- before playing in a semi-final on Tuesday.

"It's nice to have a couple of days off to recharge our battery," Dustin Boyd said. "We are ready for whatever team we play."


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