Goalie Cory Schneider and his New Jersey Devils had just lost 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes, but he still had something to celebrate that March night.While Schneider had been working the crease, Jim Johannson, USA Hockey executive vice president of hockey operations, had sent him a text saying he would be in the first group of players named the following day to Team USA for the World Cup of Hockey. The tournament starts Sept. 17 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.You know when the announcement is coming and you find yourself checking your phone quite a bit in the days leading up to it, just to see if anything came across, said the 30-year-old native of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was a welcome surprise and a pretty big relief.Schneider learned during the 2013-14 season how to deal with the mental gymnastics that typically come with an opportunity of this magnitude. That season was his first as the undisputed No. 1 goalie after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks, the team that drafted him 26th overall in the 2004 draft, for the ninth selection (which the Canucks used to pick Bo Horvat) in the 2013 draft.My first year in New Jersey, the Olympics were a possibility. I dont want to say it was a distraction, but I didnt get off to a great start that year and it doesnt help to think about what that might mean for your Olympic chances, said Schneider, who attended camp but was not named to the USA team that went to Sochi. This time, I made sure not to have any of those mental distractions, and kept my mind off of it. It was either going to happen or it wasnt, and the only thing I could do was put myself in a good position to be named.According to Team USAs general manager, Dean Lombardi, who is also the GM of the Los Angeles Kings, thats exactly how it happened.I saw what he did at [Boston College], and I saw what he did in Vancouver, and now he got his full-time chance in New Jersey, and I think his performance speaks for itself, Lombardi said. It didnt require beating yourself up with a lot of analysis to realize that he belonged in this group.Schneider finished his third season as the Devils No. 1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage, ranking him among the best goalies in the NHL.You can break him down and see that hes a good athlete, moves side-to-side real well and he fights through to see pucks, Lombardi said of the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Schneider. He doesnt overcommit and is really good positionally, but in the end it just comes down to stopping the puck and stopping it at the right time. And when you put him in high-pressure situations -- like in the playoffs with Vancouver -- he does that. He doesnt really have any flaws and is a great combination of being athletic and technically sound. Thats why hes one of the better goaltenders in the league and why I wanted him on this team.This wont be the first time Schneider will wear the stars and stripes, but it will be the first time in a long time. He represented USA Hockey in the U-18 world championship in 2004, the world junior championship in 2005 and 2006, and in the world championship in 2007.I know what it feels like to walk into a room and see that jersey hanging in your stall, and look around the room and the whole team has the USA logo on their chest. Its a pretty amazing experience, Schneider said. I competed in a lot of tournaments in a short amount of time, and you think its going to continue to be a regular occurrence, but then you realize just how special the opportunity is. Its been awhile since Ive been able to wear the jersey and Im excited to be able to put it back on.This time around, he has more than contending in mind.We want to establish ourselves as one of the best countries in the world when it comes to hockey, he said. Canadas won the past two Olympics and the past two world championships, and there are some other countries in the conversation as well, but we want to make sure we solidify ourselves as contenders on the worlds stage and not be the team that gets close but cant quite get it done.Joining him battling for Team USAs No. 1 job are the Kings Jonathan Quick, who represented USA at the past two Olympics, and the Tampa Bay Lightnings Ben Bishop, who will be wearing the red, white and blue for the first time. All three were born in 1986 and have played against one another a number of times throughout their careers, including two years in which they faced off against each other as Hockey East opponents with Schneider at BC, Quick at Massachusetts and Bishop at Maine.We are definitely not strangers, Schneider said. Were all very familiar with each others games and what each of us can bring to the team, and we all have a lot of respect for each other. So, no matter who is named as the starter, we know that Team USA will have a great player in net and that the other two guys will be ready to jump in in case something goes wrong. I obviously want to be the guy that gets the job done, but as long as the job gets done, thats what matters, and if me playing at my best forces one of them to play even better and it wins us a gold medal, Im happy with that.Its that sort of effort and camaraderie Lombardi was hoping would make itself evident when he named these three to the roster back in March.Goaltending is definitely one of our strengths, and Im very confident in these guys and their ability to get the job done, he said. I have no idea what John [Tortorella, head coach of Team USA] is going to do or how hes going to pick a starter, but I think weve given him three very good options.As far as Schneider is concerned, the only thing he can control is his play, and thats what hes focusing on heading into training camp, which starts for Team USA on Monday in Columbus, Ohio.Im sure it will be a tough decision, Schneider said. All three of us have played very well the last few years and the other two have a better résumé than I could put forward. Quickies got two Cups, a Conn Smythe and two Vezina nominations, and Bishop went to the Stanley Cup final two years ago and has a couple Vezina nominations as well. So I might be lacking in that department, but Im fully expecting to go in there and push as hard as I can for that job.The work Im doing now in the summer is going to put me in a position to make an impression right when camp opens because Im sure the evaluation process will start on Day 1. There wont be an opportunity to dip your toes in the water and potentially have some bad practices because the coaches arent really going to care. Theyre going to go with the guy thats playing the best right then, and I want to do everything I can to make sure thats me. China College Gear . 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