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Arena's not a pretty picture for Tugnutt

Team Canada goaltending coach Ron Tugnutt played in the NHL with several teams from 1987 to 2004 and is currently an assistant coach with the OHL's Peterborough Petes. He's most known around the hockey world for two 70-save performances, one for Quebec in a 3-3 tie against Boston in 1991 and the other for Pittsburgh in a five-overtime loss to Philadelphia in 2000.

In these parts, of course, he's most known for one goal.

Tugnutt lost a Derek Plante slap shot off his glove and watched in horror as it dribbled into the net to give the Buffalo Sabres an overtime win in Game Seven of the 1997 Eastern Conference quarterfinals over Ottawa at then-Marine Midland Arena. Tugnutt is back in HSBC Arena hoping for a better memory tonight as Canada goes for the gold medal against Russia.

In one of the more noteworthy pictures of recent Sabres history, a shot from the other end of the ice shows Plante watching the puck and Tugnutt stretching out with the puck already behind him. The photo is in several arena locker rooms, including the Sabres' room, and is also on a wall in the press box.

"Everywhere I go I see a picture of Derek Plante with the puck in the net," Tugnutt said Tuesday with a pained smile. "The trainers are like, 'Hey, there's a great picture of you in our room and it's huge.' I go, 'Yeah, if I could get rid of the puck.'

"I showed some of the other guys and I've got the full splits with the glove like this [spread out] but the only problem is the puck is in the net. This building has been pretty good to me, actually. I liked coming to play in Buffalo."

The Plante goal obscures the fact Tugnutt, now 43, gave the Sabres fits in the series. He had a 1.97 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in the seven games.

As far as this tournament goes, Tugnutt has been very pleased with the switch from Olivier Roy to Mark Visentin in the Canada net. Visentin gave up a brutal goal in the first two minutes Sunday against Switzerland and then played 98 scoreless minutes.

"I was really concerned," Tugnutt said of the goal. "I said, 'Oh my God, if they get another one we've got to seriously consider going right back to the guy on the bench again [Roy] because he's been battle-tested. People said he [Visentin] looked shaky in the Swiss game and I said that I could see him getting better and better in that game.

"[Monday] I watched the warm-up and he looked as calm as he ever has."


With a sellout crowd for the main event and a healthy one for the undercard Monday, this year's IIHF World Junior Championship continued to be a good box-office draw.

The U.S.-Canada semifinal showdown drew a sellout crowd of 18,690 in HSBC Arena, while the Russia-Sweden game that preceded it drew 13,435 fans. That pushed the total for the tournament to 278,653, covering the first eight days and 26 games.

While this year's event won't match the record attendance total from 2009 in Ottawa -- where 453,282 fans attended the 31 games -- it is the most fans to have attended the championships when the United States has been the host. In fact, it's already far eclipsed the 190,000 who attended the 31 games in Grand Forks, N.D., in 2005.

The attendance figure does not take into account the three games Tuesday: two relegation games at Niagara's Dwyer Arena (Germany vs. Norway and Slovakia vs. Czech Republic) and the fifth-place game between Finland and Switzerland at HSBC Arena.

Of course, attendance will get another big boost today, with the tournament's top two draws both in action.

With Team USA playing Sweden for the bronze medal at 3:30 p.m. and Team Canada taking on Russia for gold at 7:30 p.m., the potential exists for good gates in both medal games.


Norway won't be going home empty-handed after all. After being run over through preliminary play, the Norwegians began relegation play with a blowout loss to Slovakia.

But on Tuesday, Norway finished its surprising appearance in this year's IIHF World Junior Championship on a high note. The Norwegians topped Germany, 3-1, in the final relegation-round game. Hans Kristian Hollstedt scored midway through the third period to break the 1-1 tie for the Norwegians. Steffen Soberg earned the win in net as Nicholas Weberg and Petter Roste Fossen each scored.

Tom Kuhnhackl had Germany's lone goal.

In the other relegation matchup, the Czech Republic trounced Slovakia, 5-2. A balanced attack was key as Petr Holik, Jakub Culek, Tomas Rachunek, Andrej Nestrasil and Martin Frk all scored goals. The Czechs got 40 shots off, applying steady pressure each period. They raced to a 4-0 advantage to finish the tournament strong.

Slovakia, meanwhile, continued to struggle finding offensive production beyond Richard Panik, who scored both of the team's goals. As a team, the Slovaks only mustered 19 shots.


The United States is on a 9-0-1 run against Sweden since a 3-0 loss in Boston on Jan. 1, 1996. The Americans are now 12-14-2 all-time against the Swedes.

The U.S. beat Sweden in the semifinals last year en route to the gold medal. They also beat the Swedes for the bronze when they were hosts in 2007.

However, U.S. coach Keith Allain doesn't read too much into the recent run of success against Sweden.

"I think the streak is irrelevant," he said. "We have different players and they have different players."

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