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Rangers place fourth in Traverse City tourney

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Dan Hacker scored a shorthanded goal with less than two minutes remaining on Tuesday night, lifting the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Rangers in the third-place game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich.


Just as they had in their game on Monday against Detroit, the Blueshirts prospects rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the final minutes of regulation. This time, however, they came up short.

The winning goal followed a strange bounce off the glass that landed right on a Dallas penalty-killer's stick, springing the Stars for a 2-on-1. Hacker, an Alaska native who played for the Stars' top minor-league affiliate last season, finished off the break with the game-winner.

The Rangers pulled goaltender Chris Holt for an extra attacker after Hacker's goal, but were unable to tie up the game despite outshooting the Stars 29-23 on the night.

The Blueshirts prospects finished the tournament with a 2-2 record in four one-goal games. Making their first appearance in a preseason prospects tournament in six years, the Rangers finished fourth out of the eight teams.

Much like the overtime win against Detroit one night earlier, Tuesday's game was a roller-coaster affair from the start. The Rangers wasted little time taking the lead, as 2006 fourth-round draft pick David Kveton converted a nice pass from Marc-Andre Cliche to make it 1-0 just 1:04 into the game.

After the Stars came back to tie it at 1-1 on Vadim Khomitsky's 5-on-3 goal at 6:25, Dane Byers, who had assisted on the Kveton goal, scored shorthanded to tie the game. The goal came just over a minute after the Khomitsky tally, while the Stars were still enjoying a power play. Byers, the Blueshirts' second of four second-round draft picks in 2004, intercepted a clearing pass by Dallas goalie Tobias Stephan and went in for the score at 7:30.

The period ended with the Rangers killing off two more penalties and Dallas killing off one of its own. Shots were even in the first period at 10-10.

Dallas went up 3-2 at the end of 40 minutes by scoring twice at even strength in the second period. John Lammers, Dallas' 2004 third-round pick, tallied at 13:42 to tie the game, and Vladimir Nikiforov put the Stars in front with a goal at 15:10. Stephan made the lead stand up, stopping all 11 of the Rangers' shots in the middle period and denying the Blueshirts on two late power-play opportunities.

Six minutes into the third period, defenseman Marvin Degon of the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, who has joined the Rangers prospects on a tryout basis, scored on a power play to tie the game 3-3. Corey Potter and Brandon Dubinsky assisted on Degon's goal.

Degon's goal opened the door on a flurry of scoring, as four quick goals followed - two by each team.

Dallas struck first on a power play at 10:26, with Nikiforov netting his second of the night on a puck that went in after a scramble in front of Holt.

One minute later, the Stars then went up 5-3 on an even strength goal by Andy Sertich, putting the Rangers in a big hold with just 8:33 to go.

But as they have done throughout this tournament, the Blueshirts refused to fold and came storming back to tie the game. Zdenek Bahensky knocked in a rebound on a power play at 13:25, and just 27 seconds later, Byers scored his second goal of the game to make it a 5-5 tie. Kveton and Potter assisted on Byers goal - his third point.

In other games on Tuesday, Columbus defeated Atlanta 5-1 for the tournament championship, Detroit edged St. Louis 4-3 in overtime to take fifth place, and Tampa Bay beat Minnesota in an overtime shootout. The 8-7 victory gave the Lightning seventh place.

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECTS' LINEUP VS. DALLAS STARS
FORWARD LINES
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Lauri Korpikoski Brandon Dubinsky Ryan Callahan
Dane Byers Marc-Andre Cliche David Kveton
Brodie Dupont Ryan Russell Greg Moore
Zdenek Bahensky Tom Pyatt Jakub Petruzalek
DEFENSE PAIRINGS
Left Defense Right Defense
Marc Staal Bobby Sanguinetti
Ryan Constant Corey Potter
Trevor Koverko Marvin Degon
Goaltenders: Chris Holt, John Murray
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