Four Rangers prospects will play for medals at the World Junio Championships in the Czech Republic on Saturday, but only one will be playing for gold.
Sweden, whose roster includes Rangers 2007 draft pick Carl Hagelin
, defeated Russia 2-1 in overtime in a semifinal matchup on Friday to reach the gold-medal game against defending champion Canada at the most prestigious international tournament for players age 20 and under.
It was a disappointing loss for Russian stars Artem Anisimov
and Alexei Cherepanov, who are also both Rangers prospects. Cherepanov, the Rangers' 2007 first-round pick, set up the lone Russian goal to give his country a 1-0 lead at 18:27 of the second period, but Sweden tied the game with only 8:10 remaining and then delivered the winner when Mikael Backlund scored at 6:18 of overtime.
In the other semifinal, a Team USA squad featuring Rangers 2006 first-round draft pick Bobby Sanguinetti, fell to Canada 4-1 despite entering the game with a perfect 4-0-0 record. The Americans trailed 4-0 in the third period until James Van Riemsdyk broke up the shutout late in the third period. Sanguinetti did not record any points.
Team USA will face Russia for the bronze on Saturday in their second meeting of the tournament. In a preliminary-round game on Dec. 29, the Americans beat the Russians 3-2.
Hagelin has played exclusively on Sweden's fourth line and has yet to record a point while playing in all four games.
One other Rangers prospect of note, nineteen year-old Slovakian center David Skokan, finished the tournament in strong fashion on Thursday. Skokan netted a pair of goals in Slovakia's 8-0 win over Kazakhstan and finished the tournament 2-6-8 in six games played. Seven of Skokan's eight points were recorded in Slovakia's last three games.