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Colton Point makes most of start, earns shutout as Canada routs Slovakia 6-0


BUFFALO, N.Y. — When Colton Point was told by head coach Dominique Ducharme that he would be starting in Canada's net over Carter Hart, he didn't know what to do with himself.

"I was excited but I was like 'oh, now I have to figure out what I'm doing,'" said Point. "I was like 'Can I skate more? Can I do this? Can I do that?' and the coaches were like 'Yes, whatever you need, just get ready.'"

Whatever Point did to prepare, it worked. He had a 20-save performance as Canada shut out Slovakia 6-0 on Wednesday at the world junior hockey championship.

Point got the nod over Hart, the presumptive starter for most of the tournament. A pair of back-to-back games in the preliminary round — Tuesday and Wednesday's games and then an outdoor game on Friday against the rival United States before Denmark on Saturday — made it necessary for Ducharme to rest Hart.

"He was solid. We can't ask for more," said Ducharme. "Every time he had a shot, he had it under control and was just solid in net."

Point has a 1.90 goals-against average with a .938 save percentage in 16 games played for the NCAA's Colgate University this season. Hart has a 1.32 GAA and a .961 save percentage in 17 games for the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips.

Point has worked hard to be a positive influence in Canada's locker-room, but was pleased to have an opportunity to actually get into a game and make a difference on the ice. As the final seconds counted down several Canadian players raced to get the game puck for Point to keep.

"It's been taped up, a couple of words written on it, and it's going back home," said Point. "I'll put it on the dresser or frame it up or something."

A dual Canadian-American citizen, Canada's game against the U.S. on Friday will have special meaning for Point, who attended USA Hockey's goaltending camp in Plymouth, Mich., this past summer.

"I just want to prove to the guys that I'm on their side," said Point, who is from North Bay, Ont. "I don't know if that's something they think about, but it's something that I think about, wondering if they think about it.

"I'm just trying to prove that I'm Canadian. I've been Canadian my whole life. The American thing is just an afterthought."

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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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