Hockey Canada Network |
News
Key Matchup: Justin Pogge Versus Tuukka Rask
George T. Baker
|
WJC.063.06
|
January 3, 2006
|
|

Canada’s Justin Pogge and Finland’s Tuukka Rask have more in common than just playing in tonight’s first semi-final. The two goalies are both Toronto Maple Leaf draft picks: Pogge was chosen in the third round in 2004, and Rask went in the first round in 2005. Both have had solid regular seasons for their respective club teams and have performed superbly at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship. Tonight, they both have the opportunity to elevate their games to another level. Who will seize his chance?

As the head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, Brent Sutter has seen plenty of Pogge this year. He knows Pogge is capable of winning games all on his own. Though not invited to the summer evaluation camp held in Whistler, B.C. in August, the Calgary Hitmen netminder has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He’s amassed a sparkling 1.53 GAA in 27 games, with 22 wins and five losses.

Pogge has carried his excellent play into the World Juniors in Vancouver. He has the fifth-best save percentage in the tournament (.915) and the second-best GAA (1.50). His play against the Americans was commendable, given the hype that surrounded that New Year’s Eve contest. There, he stopped 22 of 24 shots in a 3-2 win. He’s rarely looked shaky.

He will need to be solid once again tonight, considering who’s guarding the net at the other end of the ice.

Tuukka Rask is fitting quite nicely into the mold recently set by Finnish goaltenders like Mikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen and Hannu Toivonen. He is yet another example of why Finland has become a dominant nation when it comes to producing goalies.

The highly touted first-round pick has lived up to most expectations. Backing up Ilves Tampere starting goalie Juha Pitkamaki in the Finnish SM-Liiga, the lightning-fast Rask has earned a 2.32 GAA and .922 save percentage in 15 games this year.

Rask has the second best save percentage in this tournament (94.78) and the fourth-best GAA (1.68). His quarter-final performance against Sweden was absolutely brilliant. He stopped all 53 shots and was named Finland’s Player of the Game in a 1-0 overtime win. If he still has more left to give and retains the “self-confidence” he mentioned in his post-game interviews, Canada will be in for a challenge.

Rask will be looking to redeem himself for a so-so performance against Canada in the opening game of the tournament, where he gave up five goals on 31 shots.

Pogge didn’t see that much action in the opening game. He faced only 17 shots that day, surrendering an Aki Seitsonen power play goal in the third.

Both of these goalies have shown the ability to get the job done in the crunch. And it doesn’t get much crunchier than a semi-final match.

If Finland is to win, Rask must duplicate his performance against the Swedes on Monday. While Canada hasn’t had to rely on goaltending as much, Pogge mustn't allow any untimely or weak goals.

Whatever happens, at least fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs will have something to look forward to!


For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557
abrin@hockeycanada.ca

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada
403-777-4553
jlarose@hockeycanada.ca

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427
klipscombe@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

facebook.com/hockeycanada

twitter.com/hockeycanada

youtube.com/hockeycanadavideos

Videos
Photos
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – USA 1
Mar 30, 2014
U18 women win gold.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 1 – RUS 0 (OT)
Mar 29, 2014
Canada edges Russia in overtime.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – CZE 0
Mar 26, 2014
Canadians shut out Czechs.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – FIN 0
Mar 24, 2014
U18 women blank Finland.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – JPN 1
Mar 23, 2014
Canada starts Worlds with win
2014 PARA: CAN 3 – NOR 0 (Bronze)
Mar 15, 2014
Billy Bridges scored a pair of goals to lead Canada to a Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: USA 3 – CAN 0 (Semifinal)
Mar 13, 2014
Corbin Watson made seven saves, but Canada will play for Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: CAN 1 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 11, 2014
Westlake scored the lone goal to help Canada to a perfect preliminary round.
2014 PARA: CAN 4 – NOR 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 09, 2014
Adam Dixon scored twice to lead Canada to its second straight win in Sochi.
2014 PARA: CAN 10 – SWE 1 (Preliminary)
Mar 08, 2014
Gale, Dixon and Rempel had four points each to lead Canada to a win.
2014 PARA: Welcome to Sochi
Mar 02, 2014
Canada’s National Sledge Team has arrived ahead of the Paralympics.
2010 OLYW: Flag Raising
Feb 10, 2010
Canada's National Women's Team taking part in the Flag Raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, B.C.
Schedule
Close
Credit  
Close
Photo Credit: