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Team Canada's goaltender Connor Ingram goes after a loose puck against the Czech Republic during first period World Junior hockey exhibition action Wednesday, December 14, 2016 in Boisbriand, Que.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Connor Ingram will start for Canada against Slovakia on Tuesday night in the preliminary round of the world junior hockey championship.

Head coach Dominique Ducharme announced the decision on Tuesday morning.

Carter Hart started Monday's opener against Russia and surrendered three goals on only 17 shots. He gave up three goals on only 14 shots in Canada's final pre-tournament game, a 4-3 overtime win against Switzerland.

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Ducharme said after the win over Russia that he was "happy with the goalies," pointing on Tuesday to defensive breakdowns that led to Russian goals.

The decision to start Ingram, a six-foot-one, 202-pound goaltender picked 88th overall by the Lightning in 2016, isn't particularly surprising given the back-to-back situation Canada faces. Still, he would appear to have an opportunity to grab the top role in the Canadian crease given Hart's apparent struggles.

Goaltending has long posed a challenge to Canada at this tournament. Steve Mason was the last Canadian to win the top goalie award, doing so in 2008.

Ingram, the Kamloops Blazers No. 1, leads the Western Hockey League with a .935 save percentage this season. Hart of the WHL's second-best team, the Everett Silvertips, sits second with a .928 mark.

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