December 14, 2010
Roy embraces last shot
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
TORONTO — This, Olivier Roy knew, was his last stand.
He stopped youngster Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a first-period breakway and made 22 saves on 24 shots in his half-game of duty in the third and final Canadian world junior selection camp exhibition tilt Tuesday night at the MasterCard Centre.
“This was my final chance to impress,” said the Acadie-Bathurst Titan puckstopper, the only 19-year-old goalie invited here and the pre-camp favourite to start for Canada in Buffalo. “Last year, I was only 18 and it was a great experience, but now, I knew this was it for me . . . you want to do whatever you can because all four goalies here have had good years so far .. . it’s been so close.”
Was it enough?
Canadian world junior coach Dave Cameron wouldn’t say if he thought Roy or one of the others made the crease his Buffalo home. “We have four guys here who are all capable goalies.”
Roy and Seattle’s Calvin Pickard, who allowed four goals, split the net for a university all-star team. Niagara’s Mark Visentin (11 saves) and Mississauga’s JP Anderson (two goals against) backstopped for the national junior hopefuls in a 6-2 win.
Cameron said every roster decision is tough. But, clearly, picking the pair to go between the pipes is of utmost importance.
Except for Roy, the three others are eligible to try out again next year.
“It’s kind of a special situation this year with three underage (18-year-old) goalies,” Anderson said. “That doesn’t happen that often. It’s a great opportunity and you want to make the best of it.
“But three days goes by quickly and you’re only playing a half game (he played the final half Tuesday) so there’s even less time. I think every guy would want to start the game because 95 % of the time in the OHL, that’s how you’re preparing. Now, all we do is wait and see what happens.”
Every year, it’s the same kind of nail-biting for the goalies. Pickard and Phoenix first rounder Visentin are rooming together, hoping their phone doesn’t ring Wednesday morning.
The defending gold medal United States team has done things less stressful in net. Windsor’s Jack Campbell and Cornell’s Andy Iles are the only two goalies invited to their selection camp.
“Those guys are in a different world,” Anderson said. “They already know they’re on the team. Here, it’s four guys fighting for two jobs.”
Cameron, who coaches Anderson with the Majors, wouldn’t provide any hints. But would certainly be rare for Canada to go with two 18-year-olds in net, which gives Roy an edge.
“Really, in something like this with four good goalies, you’re just looking for the guy with the hot hand,” said Pickard, a WColorado draft pick who performed in front of Avalanche Craig Billington Tuesday. “All you wanted was to limit your mistakes here. There’s no margin of error.”
There will be when the tournament starts Boxing Day.