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The pandemic-delayed start to the hockey season gave goalkeeping coach Jason LaBarbera and the rest of the Canadian junior world coaching team time to flood video clips of players in action from last season – in case there were players who might have slipped under the radar and was not invited to the virtual summer training camp

Good thing they did, otherwise they might have missed the chance to put a Team Canada jersey on goalkeeper Devon Levi He was nothing short of spectacular

The 19-year-old from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quewar was once again great in his 5-0 semi-final win against Russia on Monday and scored 27 saves for his third shutout of the tournament to get Canada into the gold medal final on Tuesday evening against the USA or send to Finland, who will meet in the other semifinals tonight

In six games and 340 minutes of hockey, Levi has only allowed three goals (all in the opponent’s power games), including his 29 save shutout Saturday in a 3-0 quarter-final win over Czech Republic Levi, one choice from Florida in the seventh round in 2020, joined the Northeastern University team and their 53 goals against average and 975 percent save are among Canada’s best goalkeeping performances in the 45-year history of the tournament.His three shutouts set the tournament record for Canadian goalkeeper held by former Prince George Cougar Justin Pogge

“I obviously liked what I saw in the video and a lot of the people I talked to had lots of good things to say about him, but you never know what it means to be in a warehouse of this size to come and face the shooters you will face the elite of your country’s elite, ”LaBarbera said ahead of the game on Monday

“I thought he was skilled enough and talented enough to handle this and the kid has been a rock so far, to be honest, since the day he walked west from school and I saw him on the ice, I was pretty intrigued by him. He didn’t do anything but lean in the right direction. He’s a mature boy with his approach He’s really intuitive and smart, and he helps make him a hell of a goalkeeper. He’s done everything a kid can ask who has never been through this ”

Canada blew through the preliminary round, dominating their opponents in all four games, but there were times in all of these games where Levi was rigorously tested and he was at his best against the Czechs who beat Canada at 29: 25 overhauled

“He just takes care of things and Joel Hofer did that for us at key moments last year,” said LaBarbera. “It was a close match and we didn’t have our best night and there were moments when you could start feeling a little tension and Devon rescued and choked the puck and got a whistle and he calmed the water. If goalkeepers can do this in tense moments, everyone can breathe ”

With Levi playing so well, goalkeepers Taylor Gauthier of Prince George Cougars and Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers didn’t and probably won’t play in the tournament at all Just one more game for Canada to win

“It’s never easy to see but at the same time this is the juniors in the world and you are part of an event that you may never attend again,” LaBarbera said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and both guys are doing well mastered They have been a joy to work with and they are both good people and you want good things to happen to them”It sucks when you don’t play, but it’s also pretty cool to be a part of it, especially given the way the year has passed for everyone to play hockey, so that’s even more of a reason to do it that way as far as possible to accept ”

While Gauthier will be too old for next year’s Edmonton / Red Deer tournament, Garand still has one year of eligibility

“I told Garand (during Training Sunday) that I know this year won’t be easy for you, but you can have that experience on the ice and look around, you could be in a full year with a full one.” Build and how great would that be, ”said LaBarbera

LaBarbera was the goalkeeping coach of last year’s junior world team that came back in the final in the Czech Republic against the Russians, and he thinks this year’s edition is more talented Teams that have 20 first-round draft picks (including the injured Kirby Roof), 19-year-old Gauthier is the only one of the 25 players who were not drafted into the NHL

“This team is probably more skilled than last year I think we’re deeper this year, especially up front, and that’s probably the biggest difference, “said LaBarbera.” The first two periods against Finland were impressive, we didn’t let them breathe and you need four lines to play like that It’s impossible to play like this every night, and it’s impossible if you only roll three lines

“Most Canadian teams are so relentless and the teams stifling with their work ethic and pace, and we have an elite group in that sense”

Team Canada camp began on November 10, and after two players and a staff member tested positive for COVID, they spent 14 days in quarantine in their hotel rooms in Red Deer and another five days individually in Edmonton before tournament play began There were no positive tests in the Edmonton Bladder

With none of the games having fans in the building, LaBarbera misses the energy a Canadian audience would bring

“You still feel the intensity and the emotion, but during a TV break, it’s just dead, there is no noise, it’s weird,” he said, “you have that noise in the building and cheesy as it is , it sounds like something on TV, but live it’s weird because the building is so big ”

LaBarbera has just signed a three-year deal to become the Calgary Flames goalkeeping coach after four years with the Calgary Hitmen He will join Flames at training camp on Thursday.His playing career ended in 2015 when he retired after 16 seasons and 187 games in the NHL.He played in Prince George Minor Hockey for several years before leaving town at LaBarbera at age 15 Haven’t seen his family in nearly two months and looks forward to returning to Calgary on Wednesday morning, hopefully with a gold medal around his neck to show off his wife, Kodette, and sons, Easton, 9, and Ryder, 11

“It sure was a transport,” he said, “You are so excited about what you are doing here and you are so busy and that helps and there is technology with Facetime, but it’s not the same thing you are missing out on Christmas and things like that, but you can experience it and have a good time watching the games and feeling part of them too ”

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Source: https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/sports/hockey/levi-brilliant-again-team-canada-going-for-gold-1.24262568