• Sweden Routs Finns, Eyes Rematch
Rangers prospect Chris Kreider
scored on a pretty deflection at 13:28 of the second period, helping Team USA to a 6-3 victory over Finland on Wednesday afternoon at the USA National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid, N.Y.
With the victory, the Americans improved to 2-0 in the three-team event. On Tuesday, Team USA downed Sweden, also by a 6-3 score. Players on the U.S. squad are competing for spots on the 2011 World Junior Championship team, which will look to defend its gold medal on home ice at Buffalo next winter.
Kreider, the Blueshirts' 2009 first-round draft pick who is entering his sophomore year at Boston College, was a key member of the 2010 World Junior gold medalists, scoring a team-high six goals in the tournament at Saskatchewan. One of his teammates on that squad was fellow Rangers prospect Ryan Bourque
, who is also attending the Evaluation Camp in a bid to return to the World Juniors.
Bourque, a 2009 third-round pick who plays for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, played in the win over Sweden on Tuesday but was a healthy scratch on Wednesday, as Team USA looked to evaluate some of its other players on a roster of 28. As returning members of the gold medal squad, both Bourque and Kreider, who grew up together Boxford, Mass., are expected to make the 2011 team.
While Bourque watched from the stands, Kreider played a big role in the dominating win over Finland. His goal gave the Americans a 5-1 lead, as he created traffic in front of the Finnish net and neatly deflected home a shot by defenseman Derek Forbort, a Los Angeles Kings first-round pick.
Kreider was flying from the start of the game, drawing a hooking penalty on his first shift at 1:11 of the opening period. That penalty to Finland's Rasmus Rissanen led to the game's first goal, scored by Atlanta Thrashers prospect Jeremy Morin, who spent much of the game on an even-strength line with Kreider and San Jose Sharks first-rounder Charlie Coyle.
In a repeat of its one-sided victory over the Swedes, Team USA jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period on goals by Morin, Nick Bjugstad and Chris Brown. Morin's goal came on a power play at the 2:32 mark, Bjugstad scored just under five minutes later, and Brown tallied at 12:14 of the first.
Brock Nelson, an Islanders draftee, made it 4-0 on a power play at 4:41 of the middle period before the Finns finally got on the board at 8:46. Kreider's goal was followed by a late goal from Bjugstad, the Florida Panthers first-rounder, who scored with 9.4 seconds left in the second t0o make it 6-2. Bjugstad's second goal of the game came just moments after the Finns had fought back to 5-2 with a 5-on-3 power play goal that beat U.S. netminder Andy Iles.
Finland got one goal back from Tommi Kivistowith Nelson serving a penalty at 4:01 of the third period. The final 20 minutes featured several good scoring chances for Kreider, who used his world-class speed to keep the pressure on Finnish netminder Jonathan Iilahti during a particularly impressive shift roughly seven minutes into the period and then just missed after springing himself for a prime scoring chance just over six minutes later.
Team USA returns to action on Friday against the Swedish team that includes Rangers sixth-round pick Jesper Fasth
. The Swedes face Finland on Thursday. Fasth scored in an earlier Sweden-Finland game on Monday.