Worlds according to Irving

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Justin Pogge only needed five days to convince Team Canada brass he was the right man for the job last year.

Leland Irving is counting on the same outcome.

Like Pogge, who ended up being last year's starting netminder for the national junior team, Irving didn't attend summer evaluation with the rest of the other team hopefuls but is among the five goalies in Calgary this week looking for a shot to represent his country at the world junior tournament starting Dec. 26 in Sweden.

Irving, who was forced to miss the summer camp because of a groin injury, isn't concerned by the fact he wasn't able to showcase his skills this summer.

What's most important now, said Irving, is putting in a Pogge-like performance during the five days of training camp to first, make the team, and second, bring home the gold.

"I'm hoping that things work out that way," said Irving, who arrived in Calgary yesterday along with the 38 other players who were named to the camp roster. "All that it comes down to is that I've got to come out here and perform. There's (four) other great goaltenders.

"I'm going to have my work cut out for me but I'll just take it day-by-day and see how things go."

Irving, the No. 1 goalie for the WHL's Everett Silvertips and a Calgary Flames draft pick (26th overall, 2006 draft), has got a lot of competition to secure the starting job in net for the Red and White.

Also representing the WHL will be Carey Price of the Tri-City Americans along with Lewiston's Jonathan Bernier and Steve Mason of the London Knights.

Trevor Cann of the OHL's Peterborough Petes was added to the camp roster Sunday because Mason is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and has not been cleared to skate.

Of the five goalies, Irving has the best statistics this season, with a 1.55 goals against average and .939 save percentage.

However, the 18-year-old Swan Hills, Alta., native knows being on the No. 1 ranked team in the country helps pad those stats and, if he wants to make Team Canada, he can't rest on his laurels.

"I'm coming in to work hard and hopefully make an early impression," said the 6-ft., 177-pounder.

"I think I just have a solid technical game. I can stay calm and make those key saves at big times and I'm also consistent.

"But all the goaltenders here have those aspects in their games as well, so it's going to be tight."

As for the quintet working together through the five days of camp, Irving said it should be business as usual.

"I think it will be good. I know Carey Price really well and I played with Jonathan Bernier at the under-18 and I don't know (Steve) Mason but we'll be friends off the ice. But, on the ice, we'll be competing just like any other camp."

Irving, like so many players before him, is excited at the prospect of playing for Canada.

"Being able to represent your country is something not many people get to do," he said. "Of course you want to spend a little bit of time with your family over Christmas but If I get the chance to go to Sweden, I'll spend time with them in January."

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LELAND IRVING

POSITION -- Goalie

SHOOTS -- Left

D.O.B. -- 04/11/88

HOMETOWN -- Swan Hills, Alta.

HEIGHT -- 6-ft.

WEIGHT -- 177-lb.

NHL RIGHTS -- Calgary Flames (26th overall, 2006 draft).


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