Islanders 2006 first-round pick to play in World Junior Championships
What a week for Kyle Okposo, the Islanders' 2006 first-round draft pick. After scoring two goals this weekend for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, including a highlight-reel game-winner against Minnesota State, Okposo was recently selected to the 2007 U.S. National Junior Team.
The 22 Americans under the age of 20 will compete at the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Leksand and Mora, Sweden from December 26, 2006 to January 5, 2007. The tournament is comprised of the best teenagers in the world and will include the United States, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for Kyle," said Islanders assistant general manager Ryan Jankowski. "We're very proud of him. He's having an outstanding freshman year at Minnesota, and playing in the WJC will be an invaluable experience for Kyle."
For his outstanding performance in a three-point weekend against Minnesota State, Okposo earned WCHA Rookie of the Week Honors, Monday, for the second time this year. Okposo is riding a ten-game point streak and is ranked first on the team in goals (12) and tied for first in points (19). He is first among all freshmen in goals and fourth in points. With help from Okposo, Minnesota is ranked No. 1 in the country and sporting a 16-game unbeaten streak.
The U.S. captured its first ever gold medal at the World Juniors when it was held in Finland in 2004. At the 2006 World Junior Championship, the U.S. came in fourth.