LA Kings: Mario Kempe “a lot of emotions” playing with brother Adrian

(Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
(Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images) /

LA Kings forward Adrian Kempe scored his first goal of the IIHF World Championships, playing on a line with his brother.

Brothers Mario and Adrian Kempe played on the same line in Team Sweden’s win against Switzerland on Tuesday. Adrian, 24, is nearly eight years younger than Mario, and the LA Kings forward noted in his exit interview that he was excited to play with his older brother in the IIHF World Championships.

Mario, 32, was a fifth-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft and has spent most of his career playing in his native country Sweden and Russia. He saw time with the Arizona Coyotes during the 17-18 and 18-19 seasons and with the Tuscon Roadrunners and Ontario Reign of the AHL.

This past year, he was with CSKA of the KHL, tallying 11 goals and 22 points in 34 games.

In what has been a strange tournament thus far, Sweden surprisingly lost to Denmark on Saturday and then again to Belarus on Sunday, putting them in an 0-2 hole. Needless to say, Tuesday’s contest against an unbeaten Switzerland team was critical to get back into the win column.

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“I think we did a good job there in bringing some energy,” Mario noted following Sweden’s 7-0 win. “Maybe the passing game didn’t click as good as we hoped, but I think it’s going to come, but we gotta start from working hard, and that what we did as a whole team today, and that’s why we came out with the win.”

Sweden had just three goals through the first two games, prompting a change from head coach Johan Garpenlov. He put the Kempe brothers on the same line for the first time this tournament, and the results were immediate.

Adrian scored his first goal of the tournament and added two assists to give him a three-point day, while Mario recorded a +1 with three shots on goal.

“It was great – It was something that we always dreamt about, playing with each other on the same line, so it was special for sure. So there were some emotions there,” the elder Kempe said. “I think what we needed today was to go out and bring some energy to the team since we lost the first two games. I tried to tell him before the game, let’s just go out there and be tough to play against, and the goals will come.”

Sweden dominated Switzerland with two goals in the first period, two goals in the second, and an emphatic three goals in the final frame. The Swedes are set to face a Czech Republic team just below them in the standings on Thursday, with the winner keeping their hopes alive to advance to the quarterfinals.

It’ll be interesting to see if Coach Garpenlov keeps the Kempe brothers on the same line. The results in Tuesday’s game would suggest exactly that.