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Stepan helps USA clinch series vs. Russians

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
The three Rangers prospects at the U.S. National Junior Team Evaluation Camp went out on a winning note Saturday night, as the American Under-20 team wrapped up its four-game series vs. Russia with a resounding 6-0 victory at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Team USA's Ryan Bourque, the Rangers' 2009 third-round draft pick, tangles with Russia's Maxim Chudinov during Saturday's series-ending game at Lake Placid. Bourque finished the series with x goals and x assists in three games.
Derek Stepan, the hottest of the Rangers prospects in Lake Placid, fittingly scored Team USA's final goal of the series -- a power-play tally at 13:35 of the third period. He also assisted on a power-play goal at 14:44 of the second period to put the U.S. up 4-0.

Stepan's numbers in the four-game series were remarkable. The University of wisconsin sophomore, drafted by the Blueshirts in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, finished with one goal and seven assists for eight points in four games. Most of his scoring came on the power-play, where the U.S. was absolutely lethal.

Also representing the Rangers on Saturday were 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider and '09 third-rounder Ryan Bourque. Kreider played in all four of the games, and Bourque had two goals and one assist in three games of action.

Team USA won three of the four games over the Russians, outscoring their opponents by a whopping 24-8 margin. The group of 29 players who comprised the U.S. team will now go their separate ways until 22 of them are brought back for the 2010 World Junior Championship tournament in December.

Based on their performance at the evaluation camp, which began with three intra-squad scrimmages before the games against Russia at Herb Brooks Arena, the three Rangers prospects stand a strong chance of all making the team together. No trio of Rangers draftees has made Team USA as a group since Tony Granato, Kelly Milller and John Vanbiesbrouck became the only threesome to do it in 1983.
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