Colton Point to start for Canada vs. Slovakia at WJC

World-Juniors-Canada

Canada goalie Colton Point (1) will start in net vs. Slovakia. (Nathan Denette/CP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Goaltender Colton Point will start in net for Canada against Slovakia on Wednesday at the world junior hockey championship.

The six-foot-three, 220-pound Point was a fifth-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2016. He has a 1.90 goals-against average with a .938 save percentage in 16 games played for the NCAA’s Colgate University this season.

"We knew he was a good goalie, for sure. Everything he’s done with Colgate in the NCAA, we saw the numbers, we followed him," said head coach Dominique Ducharme. "But to see him, his presence in net, makes a difference. He’s a smart kid also, he’s good at adjusting. We’re confident with him."

Although Point’s an imposing figure in net, it’s his gregarious nature that has won over his teammates.

"He’s great, he’s a character guy, I love spending time with him," said captain Dillon Dube. "It’s awesome to have him around the room, especially the positive mindset he has for us."

Point gets the nod over Carter Hart, who made 29 saves in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Finland.

Hart is one of seven players returning from last year’s silver-medal team and the presumptive starter for most of the tournament. But with 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 and versus Denmark on Saturday — it was necessary for Ducharme to strike a balance between resting Hart and having him sharp for a likely playoff berth.

"That’s why we want to see Colton in net," said Ducharme. "From there we’ll see. I think it’s something you evaluate every day, after every game. Seeing how Carter is playing and feeling, level of energy. Playing that outdoor game, what kind of effect it can have on the players and roles, we’ll see."

Hart has a 1.32 GAA and a .961 save percentage in 17 games for the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips.

Canada cancelled Wednesday’s morning skate to let the team rest after Tuesday night’s victory over Finland.

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