Cossa is the first favorite to win the opening night opener based on his game in the two exhibition games against the U-Sports All-Star

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BANFF – Sebastian Cossa isn’t one to shy away from the pressure of being Canada’s starting goalie at the World Junior Hockey Championship.


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In fact, you could say it was built for that.

At six-foot-seven, 19-year-old Cossa is a towering figure in the net and battles starter Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers and Brett Brochu of the London Knights for playing time at the tournament, who starts on Boxing Day. in Edmonton and Red Deer.

“I’m pretty loose, I like the pressure,” Cossa said earlier this week. “When it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game and there are two minutes left, there’s nowhere I want to be but on the ice. I think the confidence that I have in myself and being a goalkeeper is perfect for me.

Canada opens the tournament against the Czech Republic on December 26 at Rogers Place, where Cossa plies his trade for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Canada is currently in Banff, where they spent the last two days in a 48-hour quarantine imposed by the International Ice Hockey Federation as a precaution against the new variant of COVID-19 which is rapidly spreading around the world.


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Team Canada plans to return to the ice on Saturday and travel to Red Deer on Sunday to host Switzerland in the first of three exhibition games before the tournament.

Canada will also face Sweden on Monday in Red Deer, then face Russia at Rogers Place on Wednesday.

Selected 15th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Draft, Cossa has been the clear starter for the Oil Kings for the past two seasons. He won 17 of 19 starts last year in a season cut short due to the pandemic. This season, he’s 15-3-3 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .924 save percentage with the Oil Kings, who are set to fight for a Hockey League championship. the West this season.

This year, Canada only invited the three goaltenders who would be on roster at its selection camp, eliminating a tryout process. It took some of the stress off the three knowing they were already part of the squad and could only focus on preparing for the tournament.


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Cossa is the first favorite to earn the opening night start due to his play in the two exhibition games against the U-Sports All-Star at Selection Camp and his work in the first two practices in Banff .

Cossa made 29 saves for Canada in a 3-0 win in Game 1 over U-Sports, then made 18 saves on 22 shots into the U-Sports net the following night in a 7-2 win for the world junior championships.

Garand has an indoor track having been on the team last year, although he didn’t have a chance to play.

Ultimately, it will be a question of who performs best in the three exhibition games.

“You want to go to the tournament and you want to play,” Cossa said. “You want to help the team win. It was really nice to know that you were going to be part of the squad once selected and now it’s just a matter of getting ready for the tournament.


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A product of Fort McMurray, Alta., Cossa was selected by the Oil Kings in the second round (36th overall) in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. He joined the Oil Kings at age 16, but a injury forced him to return to play triple-A midget hockey with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

In 2019-2020, Cossa reprized the starting role for the Oil Kings, but the season was cut short just before the playoffs due to the pandemic.

Last year was Cossa’s draft year and he made the most of the short schedule the WHL were able to put together, facing only division opponents.

“I started playing goal in my second year as a novice, I tried,” said Cossa. “There were three goalies at the start of the year and at Christmas I was the last one standing. Obviously every goalie is a little weird, and me included. I love the shots taken at me, there is something wrong with me for sure.


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Going to his first NHL training camp this fall, Cossa returned to the Oil Kings as a more confident goaltender and hopes to instill a calm in the Team Canada net.

Canada enter the tournament looking to avenge a loss to the United States in the final of the heated tournament in Edmonton last year.

Cossa considers his physical tools to be two of his greatest attributes when it comes to stopping the puck.

“I have a lot of self-confidence and I think with my size and my athleticism I’m able to put everything in place and I can stop a lot of pucks,” he said. “I’m covering a lot more net and I just have to stop the puck. There are obviously bigger holes for a bigger guy, but there are a lot of guys I can admire in the NHL, some bigger guys. There are a lot of pros and cons, but I try to make the most of them.

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest



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