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Campbell has made quite a name for himself<br> Team USA goaltender shoots for fourth gold

What's in a name?

To hockey fans, it would only be natural that someone with the name Jack Adams Campbell would in fact wind up playing the game.

While Campbell does in fact have a unique hockey name, the Adams part of his name has nothing to do with the Hall of Famer whose name is on the NHL Coach of the Year Award. It turns out hockey was the furthest thing on the minds of his parents, Jack and Debbi, when they named their son.

"My mom's maiden name is Adams," said Campbell. "Looking back on it, now that I'm playing hockey, there's a trophy named after the guy, so it's pretty cool, but I don't think about it too much."

That's because Team USA's goaltender for the IIHF World Under-20 Hockey Championship has been too busy making a name for himself over the years. The 6-foot-2, 2010 first-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars is the most accomplished teenage goalie in USA Hockey history.

Campbell is the only American-born netminder to win three IIHF World Championship gold medals. He begins the process for his fourth golden memory tonight when the United States opens its title defense at HSBC Arena against Finland (8 p.m., NHL Network).

"I'm so competitive I don't even dwell on any of them," said Campbell, who has won two golds at the Under-18 Worlds along with gold in last year's Under-20 event. "It's great to be part of those three great world championship teams, but after I'm retired, hopefully after a long career, God willing, I can sit back and look at what great teams I played on and what we accomplished."

Team USA's clash caps a tripleheader of hockey action today at the arena as the 10-team tournament opens with four games total. The HSBC Arena slate begins at 12:30 p.m. with Germany facing Switzerland. Canada-Russia follows (4 p.m., NHL Network). At Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, Sweden plays Norway at 4 p.m.

In a short, prestigious tournament like the Worlds, teams are forced to bond on the fly. While Team USA will be buoyed by the fact it has eight returnees from last year's gold-medal team, having an accomplished goalie like Campbell back is huge.

Campbell is 11-1-1 with a 1.17 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in 14 IIHF Tournament games. He went 2-1 last year in Saskatoon with a .923 save percentage. In Team USA's 6-5 overtime triumph over Canada for the gold medal, he stopped 32 of 34 shots in relief of an ineffective Mike Lee.

Campbell, who stopped 20 of 22 shots in the third period and overtime, made a fine save seconds before John Carlson scored the game-winner at 4:21 to secure the Americans' second gold medal in the tournament's 34-year history.

"Honestly, I was just really excited for the challenge and the opportunity," said Campbell recalling his reaction to being told he was entering that game. "It was one I wanted the whole time. I'm going to try to be the best teammate I can possibly be, but at the same time I wanted to play every single game. When he [last year's coach Dean Blais] told me I was in, I knew it was a big opportunity for myself to help the team and there was nothing more that I wanted other than to bring that gold medal home with the 22 guys."

The U.S. faces a Finn team coming off last year's fifth-place showing. Finland may not have the star power as the U.S., Canada or Sweden, but the Finns typically are a tough out.

"I think anyone that's watched Finland play over the years knows they're going to work extremely hard, they're going to be aggressive on the puck so we're going to have to make quick plays get to pucks quickly," U.S. coach Keith Allain said.

Allain wouldn't reveal tonight's starting goalie at Saturday's media gathering at HSBC Arena. In the event Andy Iles gets the call instead, Team USA has all the confidence in the world in the Cornell Big Red netminder. Iles has a .907 save percentage in seven games with Cornell.

Still, Jack has proven repeatedly that he has his team's back.

"Just knowing that the guy in the back end is going to hold up his own every night just puts confidence in the rest of the team," Team USA captain John Ramage said.

e-mail: mrodriguez@buffnews.com