Irving hot for No. 1 spot

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:56 PM ET

CALGARY -- Monkey see, monkey do.

Leland Irving has seen how it's done.

Now he wants to be the one to carry Team Canada to world junior gold.

The Everett Silvertips goaltender made last year's world junior squad, but he was stapled to the pine and watched current Montreal Canadiens rookie Carey Price backstop the squad to a third straight gold medal.

"I want to do what Carey did last year," Irving said prior to last night's first intrasquad game.

"Take that team on my back and bring home gold for this country."

Irving said despite not playing a single minute, last year's experience gives him an advantage.

"I know what kind of a grind it is and what I need to do to prepare my body," said the Calgary Flames' first-round draft pick. "All the little things that you can do to help you prepare yourself gives you an advantage.

"The next four or five weeks are quite a grind and it's real intense the whole way through. You get a few days, once you get overseas, to have a few practices, and the coaches keep everything upbeat and at a high tempo.

"Away from the rink, you're just relaxing and getting to know the guys. That's one of the nicest things about something like this -- coming together with all the guys and the friendships you get out of it."

The 19-year-old is in a battle with fellow Super Series puckstoppers Steve Mason (London Knights) and Jonathan Bernier (Lewiston Maineiacs) as well as Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants) for one of two spots on the team.

Irving insisted he's not taking anything for granted.

"I don't feel like I'm too comfortable at all," he said. "You have some great goaltenders here, and I have my work cut out for me.

"It comes down to who's having a good camp."

Just making the team is an accomplishment.

But, in Irving's case, he's already been there, done that.

Last night, Irving stopped 13 of 14 shots in backing Team White to a 3-2 intrasquad win over Team Red at Father David Bauer Arena.

The first camp game saw Stefan Legein of the Niagara Ice Dogs score twice, including the game-winner, and assist on Zach Hamill's first-period marker.

Steven Stamkos and Zach Boychuk replied for Team Red against Leland and his side.

Make no mistake, Leland wants the No. 1 gig.

"I think any one of us would be (disappointed not to be named starter)," he said. "You have four highly competitive goalies, and each one of us is going for that starting spot.

"We all want to make the team, but we all really want to start for Team Canada."

And they want to follow in Price's footsteps. Irving said showing poise under pressure -- something for which Price is well-known -- will be key.

"Carey's an extreme example of calmness," Irving said. "Even watching him now with the Montreal Canadiens, it's amazing how poised he is."


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