Pogge named No. 1 junior in the nation

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

First, Justin Pogge led Canada to a world junior title in Vancouver.

Now, he's been named the top player in the Canadian Hockey League.

Prospects Hockey magazine commissioned a 19-member panel, including the Calgary Sun, to rank the country's best young players.

The Calgary Hitmen goaltender topped the third-annual poll. Calgary Flames rookie d-man Dion Phaneuf was ranked No. 1 the past two years with Pittsburgh Penguins freshman Sidney Crosby at No. 2 both years.

Prospects Hockey managing editor Peter Robinson said the 19-year-old puckstopper is a worthy recipient of the honour.

"In a tournament full of pleasant Canadian surprises, Justin Pogge was probably the biggest one in Vancouver," Robinson said. "But, if anything, Pogge's play for Calgary in the WHL has probably been even better.

"Right now, he is clearly the most dominant player in the Canadian Hockey League."

Pogge, who recently pieced together a franchise-record shutout streak of 223:47, took the latest honour in stride.

"It's pretty cool," said the Toronto Maple Leafs third rounder, who was busy doing radio shows across the country yesterday.

"I didn't know about it until this afternoon."

Sudbury d-man Marc Staal was second in the poll followed by fellow world junior blueliner Luc Bourdon of the Moncton Wildcats. Owen Sound forward Bobby Ryan and injured Medicine Hat Tigers rearguard Cam Barker rounded out the top five.

Pogge, who leads the WHL in goals-against average (1.68), save percentage (.927) and shutouts (11), said he was more concerned with his club's big weekend, which starts tonight with the Swift Current Broncos in town (7 p.m. at the 'Dome, The Fan 960).


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