After dropping their opening game on Friday night to the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-3, Maxim Kitsyn and the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors picked up their first win of the Memorial Cup tournament yesterday.
Sunday’s game pitted them against the Kootenay Ice, champions of the WHL. Cody Eakin (Capitals draft pick) put the Ice up first. Then, Kitsyn tied things up with his first point of the tournament. Rob Flick (Blackhawks draft pick) scored the final goal of the game half way through the third period and the Majors went on to win 2-1.
Mississauga was the top team in the OHL’s regular season. However, they were defeated in the OHL Finals by the Owen Sound Attack – who they’ll play in their next game (Wednesday night). The semi-finals will be played Friday and the 2011 Memorial Cup Champion will be crowned after the final game on Sunday.
It’s been quite the year so far for Kitsyn, who wasn’t even playing in North America when the season began. His Russian team won the Super Series in November – a tournament featuring a Russian all-star team vs. two games each against the WHL, OHL and QMJHL. He topped that by winning a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January. Then he joined the Majors and finished the regular season with 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists) in 32 games. He also had 19 points (10g, 9a) in 20 OHL playoff games.
Kitsyn is the lone Kings prospect still playing. After higher ranked prospects and draft picks, like Brayden Schenn and Tyler Toffoli, were eliminated, Kitsyn – a sixth round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft – finds himself just a few wins away from junior hockey’s ultimate prize.
That would be quite a hat trick…of hardware.
NCAA Playoff Preview: Interview with Derek Forbort – the Kings 2010 first round draft pick