ZURICH-KLOTEN – After six periods of hockey, Canada’s Chris Mason has allowed only one goal. In fact, prior to Ales Hemsky scoring late in the third period, Mason had gone 57:40 without allowing a goal.
With a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic, Canada looks poised to be a tough opponent for any opponent. And with solid goaltending they are even more formidable.
“I felt good in my second game, especially seeing more action.” Mason said. “The guys did a good job keeping plays to the outside.”
In this World Championship Mason has two shutouts and teaming with Dwayne Roloson as the most effective goaltending tandem in the tournament.
However, this is not the first time he’s represented Canada at the World Championships. He was named to the team in 2006 and 2007 and was the third option and did not see any action. Things are much different this time around.
“I was a bit nervous to start that first game because I’ve waited my whole life to wear this jersey on the ice,” he said of representing Canada. “This is one of the biggest honours I’ve ever had.”
Mason has received solid support from the team in front of him. With nine goals against Hungary and five against the Czechs, Canada has scored fourteen goals with Mason in net.
“The guys have been fantastic in getting big goals,” said Mason. “When you’re getting nine goals and five goals, you can’t complain. It’s much better to play with the lead.”
Mason was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1995, but would first earn NHL success with the Nashville Predators. Mason teamed with Dan Ellis to form an effective combination in goal. Mason had a disappointing 2007-08 season and Ellis played well, prompting a trade last off season to St. Louis.
Mason got off to a slow start this season, going 3-13-1 before a strong second half saw him rebound to finish 27-21-7 with six shutouts.
Next game Mason might be watching Roloson, or he might play. Either way, he will be familiar with some of the players on Team Norway. During the NHL lockout, he played for Valerenga Oslo in the Norwegian league where he backstopped the team to its 25th league championship.
“I had never been over to Europe before and had a blast,” he said. “They guys were great and a few of the Team Norway guys and I keep in touch.”
With Team Canada, Mason is hoping to continue his high level of play and contribute as things are on the line.
“With any hockey tournament or team, goaltending matters a lot,” he offered. “I hope Roloson and I keep giving Canada the goaltending it needs to win.