Kane ups draft status with world-class effort

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

LEKSAND, SWEDEN -- Patrick Kane is not supposed to be doing this.

The world junior is a tournament where 19-year-olds come to shine in one last hurrah on the international stage before turning pro. Kane, who turned 18 in November, is doing it his way.

A Buffalo native who has been eating up the Ontario Hockey League with the London Knights, Kane is tied for the team lead in scoring with the United States with five points and is pushing himself higher up the draft list with a strong performance here.

"He mild-mannered, but when he gets out there he is a difference maker," U.S. coach Ron Rolston said. "He controls the puck and plays with poise."

Kane scored the first goal for the Americans yesterday in their 3-2 overtime victory against Sweden before a less-than-capacity crowd of 4,297 at Ejendals Arena.

But it was a veteran, defenceman Jack Johnson, who ensured the U.S. will play in the medal round.

The Americans held a 2-1 lead with 14 seconds to go when the Swedes' Fredrik Pettersson of the Calgary Hitmen scored. Had the U.S. lost, it would have been in the relegation round.

Kane, who was ranked third in the OHL -- by NHL -- Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings, should be at the least a top 10 pick in the draft in June in Columbus.

"Some of my buddies back home are saying first overall, which is nuts to think like that," Kane said. "It's nice to think about, but I_just try to keep a level head."


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