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WJHC: Allen earns second straight shutout for Canada

The Canadian Press

12/28/2009 9:12:54 PM

SASKATOON - Jake Allen is used to seeing a lot more action than this.

Allen has faced just 25 total shots while leading Canada to two shutouts in its first world junior hockey championship games.

He was called upon to make 15 saves in a 6-0 win over Switzerland on Monday. That's up from a mere 10 saves in Canada's 16-0 rout of Latvia on Saturday.

That's a big change from the high-scoring Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where Allen plays for the Montreal Junior. He has faced at least 30 shots in 15 of his 30 appearances with the Junior this season -- 40 shots or more in five of those games.

"It's different for you mentally, but the game doesn't change itself -- it's still just the basic game," said Allen, who was taken by the St. Louis Blues in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. "I'm just going to try and keep sharp, keep loose and have some fun with it."

Allen is one shutout shy of the tournament record of three that Justin Pogge set for Canada in 2006.

Canadian goaltending coach Ron Tugnutt isn't concerned by the limited amount of shots Allen has faced. A former NHL goaltender, Tugnutt is pleased by the amount of game-oriented material Canadian head coach Willie Desjardins puts together in practice.

"I'll tell (Allen and other goaltender Martin Jones), 'Okay it's a game situation right now. You can't give up a goal,"' said Tugnutt.

While Latvia and Switzerland are certainly not offensive dynamos -- they've scored a combined three goals in their four games -- the Canadian defence has plenty to do with Allen's consecutive shutouts.

The Canadians have been a step ahead of their opponents for most puck battles, and have kept to their defensive duties.

"Even the forwards are coming back," said Allen. "We're working hard in our own zone, and the defence has been clearing everything out.

"It's so easy to play in front of these guys and it's just a big confidence boost for me."

Allen has given Desjardins no reason to replace him with Jones in coming games, but the decision is ultimately made by Desjardins on a day-to-day basis.

Tugnutt indicated Jones might see some playing time.

With games against Slovakia and the United States on the horizon, things are going to get a little more hectic in the Canadian crease.

"It's inevitable -- it's coming," said Tugnutt. "We just have to make sure both goalies are ready for it."