All three Rangers prospects at the U.S. National Junior Team evaluation camp successfully passed through Monday's cuts and will compete in Team USA's upcoming four-game series against Russia in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Prospects Chris Kreider
, Ryan Bourque
and Derek Stepan
impressed the USA Hockey leadership enough in three recent intra-squad scrimmages to earn spots on the U.S. team. They also went a long way toward earning spots on the U.S. roster for the 2010 World Junior Championships. The entire U.S. World Junior team is likely to come from the group of 29 who survived Monday's cuts.
In the Blue-White scrimmage finale on Sunday, Bourque starred with a goal and an assist, but his Team Blue squad came up just short, falling in overtime to Team White 8-7.
With his two-point performance, Bourque placed sixth among all players in scoring during the three-game Blue White series, which White won 2-1.
Bourque scored late in the first period Sunday to tie the score at 2-2. He later assisted on Jeremy Morin's power-play goal at 13:42 of the second, giving the Blue team a 5-4 lead. New Jersey resident Kyle Palmieri eventually won the game for White at 4:50 of overtime.
Following Sunday night's game, the camp roster was reduced from 42 players to 29. None of the Rangers prospects were among the 13 cuts.
Bourque,a Rangers third-round pick this summer,will be joined 2008 pick Stepan and fellow 2009 draftee Kreider, the Blueshirts' first-round draft pick who had one assist in the three Blue-White scrimmages.
The USA-Russia series begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening in Lake Placid.