Campbell ‘the guy’ for U.S.

Team Russia Nikita Kucherov scores on Team U.S. Jack Campbell during third period on an exhibition...

Team Russia Nikita Kucherov scores on Team U.S. Jack Campbell during third period on an exhibition at Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. Russia won 6-3. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY)

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:35 PM ET

CAMROSE, ALTA. - The weight of the American junior hockey world is on the shoulders of Jack Campbell.

Unfortunately for the Dallas Stars draft pick, who was taken 11th overall in 2010, the U.S. came out flat in a 6-3 loss to the Russians in their pre-competition opener in Red Deer on Tuesday.

While an exhibition loss is still a loss, it’s not the end of that world.

“He’s going to see those quality shots every game no matter who you’re playing,” said U.S. head coach Dean Blais.

After all, the 19-year-old Campbell already has three gold medals from international competition on his young hockey resume, which sends him into this year’s world junior championship as ‘the guy.’

“Oh, he is,” Blais said. “Although John Gibson has really been looking good, too. So it’s kind of nice that we have two guys and one doesn’t really feel all that pressure like he’s got to be the guy.”

Gibson, a six-foot-three, 200-pound Pittsburgh native who is playing for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, started in net against Switzerland on Wednesday in Camrose.

The U.S. cuts down to its final 22-man roster on Thursday.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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