BUFFALO, N.Y. –
Russia, led by Los Angeles Kings prospect Maxim Kitsyn
, has won the gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championships. This annual tournament that showcases the best amateur hockey talent in the World concluded earlier tonight when Russia beat Canada, 5-3, in the gold medal game, played at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.
Kitsyn and his Russian teammates trailed Canada, 3-0, in the championship game before scoring five unanswered goals in the third period to win the gold medal for the first time since 2003. Kitsyn was credited with one of the five goals and a plus-2 rating in the game. For the tournament, he totaled nine points (5-4=9), a team-leading five goals, zero penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating in seven games.
The Kings selected Kitsyn in the sixth-round choice (158th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a 6-2, 194-pound native of Novokuznetsk, Russia, currently playing in his third consecutive season for Novokuznetsk Metallurg of the KHL. This season he has recorded seven points (3-4=7) and eight penalty minutes in 18 games with that team.
Kitsyn and the Russians defeated Kings prospect Brayden Schenn and the Canadians, but not before Schenn tied a Canadian record for most points scored in one World Junior tournament. Schenn, who collected one goal and one assist on Wednesday night, finished with 18 points (8-10=18) in the tournament to tie a record first set by Dale McCourt in 1977. In addition to his record-tying 18 points, Schenn also had zero penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating in seven tournament games and his eight tournament goals also led Canada.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Schenn was named both tournament MVP and to the all-tournament team.
Schenn, who served as an assistant captain on this year’s team, was one of four returning players from Canada’s silver-medal winning squad in 2010.
Schenn, 19, played in eight games with the Kings this season before being assigned back to his junior team (the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League) on Dec. 3. In eight games with the Kings he had two points (both assists) and zero penalty minutes. Schenn also appeared in seven games with the Manchester Monarchs (on a conditioning assignment) of the American Hockey League before his assignment to Brandon, recording seven points (3-4=7) and four penalty minutes. In two games with Brandon he has four points (1-3=4) and two penalty minutes.
Schenn has represented Canada several times on an International stage. Prior to his silver medal in this year’s tournament and his silver medal in 2010, he won a gold medal for Canada at the 2008 World Under-18 Championships and the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He also earned a bronze medal for Team Canada West at the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and represented the WHL in the Canada-Russia Challenge in both 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The Kings’ first-round choice (fifth overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Schenn is a 6-1, 190-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He made his NHL debut last season and became the third youngest player to ever play for the club.
Schenn has played for the Wheat Kings the past three seasons. Last season the Wheat Kings advanced to the Memorial Cup before losing to Calgary.
Also earning a medal for Team USA was Kings’ prospect Derek Forbort (6 GP, 0-0=0, 0 PIM, 0 +/-), who took home a bronze medal as the American’s skated past Sweden, 4-2, in Wednesday’s bronze medal game.
Forbort, who skated in all six Team USA games during the tournament, was the Kings’ first-round choice (15th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a 6-5, 198-pound native of Duluth, Minnesota, and he currently is a student-athlete at the University of North Dakota, where in 15 games he has nine points (all assists) and six penalty minutes. In 2008-09 and 2009-10 Forbort played for the U.S. National Under-17 Team, and he earned a gold medal for Team USA at the 2010 World Under-18 Championships (plus-9 in 7 GP).
Other current Kings that participated in the World Junior Championships:
Jonathan Bernier (Team Canada, 2008)
Dustin Brown (Team USA, 2002 and 2003)
Drew Doughty (Team Canada, 2008)
Matt Greene (Team USA, 2003)
Michal Handzus (Team Slovakia, 1996 and 1997)
Jack Johnson (Team USA, 2006 and 2007)
Anze Kopitar (Team Slovenia 2004, 2005 and 2006, Division I)
Trevor Lewis (Team USA, 2007)
Wayne Simmonds (Team Canada, 2008)
Ryan Smyth (Team Canada, 1995)
Jarret Stoll (Team Canada, 2001 and 2002)
Marco Sturm (Team Germany, 1994 and 1995)
The Kings (22-16-1) continue their season-long eight-game homestand tomorrow night at STAPLES Center when they host Nashville at 7:30 p.m. (PT). The game will be broadcast on FS West, KTLK AM 1150 and along the Kings Radio Network. After that, the Kings host Columbus on Saturday, Jan. 8 (7:30 p.m.), Toronto on Monday, Jan. 10 (7:30 p.m.) and St. Louis on Thursday, Jan. 13 (7:30 p.m.) before concluding the homestand by hosting Edmonton on Saturday, Jan. 15 (7 p.m.).