Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kichton makes strong first impression

Rookie scores twice in win over Sharks

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PENTICTON, B.C. -- Brenden Kichton's first competitive response since being drafted by the Winnipeg Jets last June had some tongues wagging Friday night.

Kichton was credited with two goals and an assist to help the Jets rookies defeat their San Jose Sharks counterparts 5-3 before a sparse crowd at the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic game at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

"I thought Brenden was real strong," said Keith McCambridge, coach of the Jets' AHL affiliate in St. John's. McCambridge is handling the Winnipeg bench at this tournament. "We knew that he was a power-play guy and I liked the goal he scored at the end there (with six minutes left).

"We knew that he had some real offensive upside. That obviously was there and there with a real good presence for his first game. But also defensively I thought he made some good reads and he moved the puck up the ice efficiently. Good first impression for me."

Kichton, drafted by the Islanders in 2011 but not signed, was chosen by the Jets with their seventh-round pick last June after a season of 22 goals and 85 points with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs.

He signed 10 days ago.

"It's only the first game, two more to go, but I like the way we started," Kichton said Friday night. "(The contract) is added confidence. But you can't take lightly what's been given to you. You've got to earn everything that's been given to you."

The Jets forged three one-goal leads but needed two third-period goals, the final one by Kichton, to pull away from the Sharks.

"It was a good start," Kichton said. "I thought we all played well. We let off a bit in the second period but overall it was it was a great team game."

The 21-year-old from Spruce Grove, Alta., said his first-period goal belonged to forward Ivan Telegin.

"The first one, Telly was calling for it there and I was lucky enough to shoot it off his skate," Kichton said. "So that was his goal. The second one, Ty (Stanton) made a good pass there and I just let it go, lucky enough to find the net. That's what you've got to do to make impressions here."

Other Jets prospects who hit the ground running on Friday included 2012 third-round draft pick Scott Kosmachuk, who fired the eventual winner early in the third period, after escaping the penalty box.

He converted a well-executed two-on-one with Austen Brassard.

"As the game wore on, I thought he had some more detail to his game," McCambridge said of Kosmachuk. "I noticed him more. He was making some nice plays. But I though he settled in and got stronger as the game wore on."

Winnipeg's first-round pick of 2013, defenceman Josh Morrissey, and tryout Mitch Theoret, a former teammate of Mark Scheifele, had the other goals on Friday.

San Jose, which has dropped both its games at the tournament, had two goals from Rylan Schwartz and the other from Konrad Abeltshauser against Jets goalie Jussi Olkinuora.

Winnipeg's second game of the tournament comes tonight against the Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. CT).

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2013 C3

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