|Alexei Cherepanov |
Alexei Cherepanov, the Rangers' first-round pick at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, turned in a tremendous performance on Saturday, leading Russia to a 4-2 victory over the United States in the bronze medal game of the World Junior Championship tournament in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
Cherepanov scored the game's first goal at 3:59 of the opening period, assisted on another even-strength goal at 16:57 of the first period to give Russia a 3-0 lead, and then assisted on a power-play goal in the second period to make it 4-0.
His three-point performance on Saturday enabled Cherepanov to finish the tournament with six points in six games, good for third on the team in scoring even though he missed the first game because he had the flu. The Russian right wing, who turns 19 later this month, won a bronze medal to go along with the silver he earned a year ago.
Also on the Russian team was Rangers' 2006 second-round pick Artem Anisimov
. Currently playing for the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, Anisimov finished the tournament with four points and a plus-4 rating in seven games. Anisimov and Cherepanov were also teammates on the Russian team that won silver last year.
With its loss on Saturday, Team USA placed fourth in the tournament. One of the leaders of the American squad was Rangers 2007 first-round pick Bobby Sanguinetti. The defenseman picked up an assist on the game's final goal on Saturday. The power-play assist enabled him to end the tournament with three points and a plus-1 rating in six games.
Team USA had earlier beaten Russia in the preliminary round, but could not repeat the achievement in the medal round.
One other Rangers prospect claimed a medal on Saturday, as 2007 draftee Carl Hagelin
was part of the Swedish team that won silver in Pardubice. Sweden fell to gold-medalist Canada 3-2 in overtime after rallying from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation time.
Canada captured its fourth consecutive gold medal when Matt Halischuk, a 2007 New Jersey Devils draft pick, scored the tournament-winner at 3:36 of overtime. Canadian goaltender Steve Mason, a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick, was named the tournament MVP.