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Jake Paterson to start for Canada in world juniors opener

Jake Paterson will start Canada's first game of this year's tournament after serving as Canada's third-string goalie at last year's event in Ufa, Russia.

Goalie gets the nod over Zach Fucale on Boxing Day

Coach Brent Sutter announced he'll go with Jake Paterson to start the tournament against Germany on Boxing Day. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Jake Paterson will be in goal when Canada opens the world junior hockey championship against Germany.

The Saginaw Spirit goalie was expected to be named the starter after playing in the team's final two exhibition games against Sweden and Switzerland.

"Paterson will start Game 1 and we'll make a determination after that game's over who will start in Game 2," coach Brent Sutter said after a one-hour practice Wednesday morning.

Canada opens the 10-country tournament against the Germans on Thursday.

Zach Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads will serve as back-up, but may get to play later in the tournament.

"Let's see how Game 1 goes," said Sutter. "You've got to assume when you're playing a lot of games in a short period of time that you'll need both goalies, but we'll start with Patty and make a determination after that who will play in Game 2."

The 19-year-old Paterson was thrilled.

He was at last year's world juniors in Ufa, Russia as the third goalie, but never got to dress for a game. Now he will finally wear a Team Canada jersey on the ice.

"It's really exciting," the Mississauga, Ont. native said. "[Goalie coach] Fred Braithwaite came up and told me I was going in and then Brent came up after practice and said I was playing. It was really exciting to hear the news."

Canada will likely have to play an extra game this year. In the past, a team that finished first in its opening-round group got a bye to the semifinals. Now the top four in each group all have to play in the quarter-finals.

The prospect of playing seven games instead of six makes it more likely that both goalies will see action.

Canada faces the Czech Republic on Saturday and Slovakia on Dec. 30 before closing out group stage play Dec. 31 against the United States.

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