BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As he stood before a throng of reporters to answer questions about becoming only the third Canadian player to score 4 goals in a World Junior Championship game, Brayden Schenn felt it also was the right time to offer an apology.
It was the least he could do following the theft he committed late in the game against Norway on Wednesday, an eventual 10-1 triumph at HSBC Arena.
Already having tucked away 3 goals, Schenn needed one more in the third period to equal former Canada greats Mario Lemieux (1983 vs. Norway) and Simon Gagne (1999 vs. Kazakhstan) for most goals in a WJC game. The moment of truth arrived with 3:25 on the clock when Tyson Barrie's shot from the right circle caromed out to the opposite side, where all Quinton Howden needed to do was make contact to place his first of the tournament into an open net.
Out of nowhere came Schenn, barreling down the slot. Heck, he just about ran over Howden to reach the bouncing puck before jamming home the rebound -- his record-tying fourth goal.
"Yeah, my apologies to Quinton Howden," Schenn said. "I robbed a goal from him and I owe him one now. Quinton was giving me a hard time about it, but he was laughing, too. I pretty much walked right in front of him and stole it, so I guess I owe him one.
"I feel bad about it, but it was still nice to get it."
Oh, that sly devil.
Perhaps the bigger question might be will Howden forgive his linemate?
"It'll take a while, but I'll have to," Howden said.
Canada coach Dave Cameron didn't actually see the play developing, but heard plenty of laughter about it in the locker room afterward.
"I didn't see it, but I did hear them joking in the dressing room … it's one of those things," Cameron said. "I use the baseball analogy. The third baseman plays everything and what he doesn't get, the shortstop gets. Well, (Schenn) was our third baseman on that one."
Schenn's 4-goal explosion was something to behold, particularly after he had been singing the praises of his teammates following his 4-assist, 5-point performance less than 24 hours earlier in a 7-2 victory against Czech Republic.
Right now, with a tournament-leading 6 goals and 12 points in only three games, Schenn is in another stratosphere.
"I suppose you have to shoot it at the right time and pick the right spots when to shoot," he said. "I'm obviously getting a few breaks. They're squeaking under the arms, so as long as it stays that way, I'll be happy."
The last time Schenn was on this sort of offensive tear was last season with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings, when he had 99 points in 59 regular-season games en route to earning WHL First-Team All-Star honors.
"I had 12 points in three games at the end of the season, but I know junior is not at the level of this right now because this is a pretty prestigious tournament," Schenn said.
Schenn's 12 points so far are just six short of equaling the all-time single-tournament Canadian mark of 18 set by Dale McCourt in 1977.
"I robbed a goal from him and I owe him one now. Quinton was giving me a hard time about it, but he was laughing, too. I pretty much walked right in front of him and stole it, so I guess I owe him one." --Brayden Schenn
"I can't really worry about that (record) now," Schenn said. "I just have to worry about winning hockey games. If it happens, it happens. It would be nice, but the tough games will be coming up now so I guess we'll see what I'm made of."
Schenn, who was added to Team Canada's roster Dec. 4, he was returned to Brandon by the Los Angeles Kings, is finding his groove at the right time.
"I didn't feel at the top of my game during Canada's selection camp and used the pre-tournament games to get ready for this," he said. "I didn't play a whole lot of hockey in the first half, but now my legs are under me and I have my speed back and feel pretty good."
Team Canada captain Ryan Ellis hopes Schenn can continue his torrid pace.
"He's been on fire and has been one of our top players for sure," Ellis said. "He's finding everything and shooting everything and it's been good for him. We're hoping for more efforts like that."
And if the effort doesn't result in a goal, perhaps it'll come in the form of an assist to Howden -- he does owe him one, after all.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale