The play has gotten better as the tournament has progressed, and the Rangers' prospects were rewarded with a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets' prospects Monday afternoon at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.
After a disappointing tournament-opener Friday against Minnesota and a strong performance Saturday against St. Louis, the Blueshirts were able to open it up Monday on goals from Adam Tambellini, Petr Zamorsky, Calle Andersson and Hayden Hodgson. Free agent invitee Jacob Smith shined making 38 saves.
"It was a nice win for the guys. I thought we played really good today, the best hockey — the best we could play," Andersson told reporters after his goal and assist over Columbus. "It was a really good game for us and I think we should be proud."
The Rangers opened the scoring on Tambellini's first of the tournament when he buried a loose puck just 3:58 into the game.
"Our whole team has been a little snake-bitten," Tambellini told BlueshirtsUnited.com, "so it was nice to put in a few tonight."
Zamorsky picked up his first of the tournament 59 seconds into the middle stanza with the Blueshirts on a two-man advantage. Andersson joined the party 3:14 into the third when he one-timed a Keegan Iverson pass into the cage. Hodgson iced the game with an empty net goal with 1:20 left.
"I like the fact that for three straight nights now we've shown pretty good improvement," head coach Ken Gernander said. "The first night I wasn't thrilled with some of our efforts, but each night it's gotten better and better, and consequently, our team has gotten better and better."
Gernander said Andersson and Zamorsky did not play Saturday due to their efforts Friday in a 5-2 loss to Minnesota. He said he was much happier with Andersson's effort Monday, especially after captain Brady Skjei was lost in the first period. Gernander said he has a "minor little ding" and that he was kept out to ensure he was ready for training camp on Friday.
"I thought tonight [Andersson's] effort and everything was better than what we saw in Game 1," Gernander said. "I don't think it's going to be a real significant learning curve or what have you for him in terms of the smaller rink or the North American game.
"He's a smart, heady player with some skill," Gernander continued. "He's going to have to learn to be a little more firmer and a little more physical. Little things like that."
Andersson himself said one of the reason he's here is to contribute offensively.
"I'm here to score some goals and some points," he said. "I think that's one part of the game I play. I'm happy today. I was playing good today and I'm happy with my game, so I have to keep going and play better tomorrow."
Gernander ruled goaltender Brandon Halverson out of Tuesday's tournament finale. The netminder, whom the Rangers selected in the second-round in the 2014 NHL Draft, has been nursing a mild ankle sprain.