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Prospect trio reaches World Junior semis

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Game 1 Recap: Stepan Gets Three Points in Win

Game 2 Recap: Kreider Nets Winner in Shutout
Game 3 Recap: Hat Trick for Kreider in Rout of Latvia
Game 4 Recap: Canada Edges USA in OT Shootout
Bourque Watch | Kreider Watch | Stepan Watch

Three Rangers prospects reached the World Junior Championship tournament's final four on Saturday night, as Team USA routed Finland 6-2 to set up a semifinal showdown with Sweden on Sunday.

Rangers prospect Ryan Bourque fires a shot at the Finnish net during Team USA's World Junior Championship quarterfinal win over Finland.
Chris Kreider, the Blueshirts' first-round pick last June, scored a goal, and Derek Stepan, the Rangers' 2008 second-rounder, had two assists in the game. Ryan Bourque, the Rangers' 2009 third-round choice, also played for the victorious Americans, who will face a Swedish team that earned a quarterfinal bye for winning its round-robin group.

Team USA captain Stepan, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, leads all scorers at the 2010 World Junior Championships with 11 points. Stepan is looking to become the first Rangers draftee to lead a World Junior tournament in scoring since Doug Weight did it with the U.S. team in 1991.

Coming off a tough overtime shootout loss to Canada, the determined Americans roared out of the blocks on Saturday night, taking a 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

New Jersey resident Kyle Palmieri, an Anaheim Ducks first-round pick, started the scoring with an even-strength goal at 2:14 of the first. The U.S. quickly made it a two-goal lead with a power-play goal by Matt Donovan just over four minutes later

Stepan and Vancouver draftee Jordan Schroeder, who also had a hand in the Palmieri goal, assisted on Donovan's goal that made it 2-0 at the 6:34 mark.

Team USA's 2-0 advantage held up through the first period, as USA goaltender Mike Lee, a Phoenix Coyotes draft pick, made seven saves.

The U.S. stretched its lead to 3-0 at 12:51 of the middle period on a goal by Jerry D'Amigo. Stepan assisted on the goal -- his eighth assist in five games -- to move into the tournament scoring lead, passing Canada's Jordan Eberle.

The Finns ended Lee's shutout bid with an even-strength tally at 15:17 of the second. With 26 seconds left in the period, Bourque was called for tripping, but the U.S. went into the second intermission with a commanding 3-1 lead.

After killing off Bourque's penalty to start the third period, Kreider made it 4-1 with a goal at the 2:05 mark. It was Kreider's fifth goal in five tournament games.

Finland came back for an even-strength goal at 14:31 to cut it to 4-2, but that was as close as the Finns would come. Team USA added two more goals after Finland pulled its netminder with 1:25 to go.

Team USA's D'Amigo hit the open net at 19:07 of the third to make it 5-2. With Finnish goalie Joni Ortio back in the game, Danny Kristo closed the scoring with an even-strength tally at 19:16 of the third

Finland outshot the U.S. 44-25, as Lee made 42 saves for the win. He stopped 22 shots in the third period alone.
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