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USA faces Canada in WJC showdown

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Fasth, Swedes Fall to Russia in Shootout

Prospects Making Rangers Scouts Proud

It has been a big day for three Rangers prospects -- all with bright NHL futures -- as the World Junior Championship tournament semifinals are taking place at Buffalo, N.Y.

In the first semifinal today, Blueshirts 2010 sixth-round draft pick Jesper Fasth and Team Sweden faced he Russians. The second semifinal, now in progress,, features Rangers 2009 draftees Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque playing for Team USA in a major showdown with Canada.

The winning team tonight will play for gold against Russia, which stunned Fasth's Swedish team 4-3 in an overtime shootout in today's first semifinal.

Tonight's semifinal can be seen live on the NHL Network.  Fans can also follow tonigh'ts USA-Canada game via the Rangers' Twitter feed.

Last year at Saskatchewan, an American team that included Kreider, Bourque, and current Rangers rookie Derek Stepan, upset Canada for the gold medal. Stepan was the captain of that team, while this year Bourque is serving as one of the U.S. alternate captains.

In contrast to a year ago, when Canada was the host country, the Americans are favored on their home ice at Buffalo, and Canada is looking to pull off an upset after finishing second in its preliminary-round Group B play.

Team USA is 4-0-0 in the tournament so far with preliminary-round victories over Finland (in overtime), Slovakia, Germany, and Switzerland. Kreider has averaged a point-per-game in the tournament, including two goals. Bourque has posted two assists.

The winner of tonight's semifinals will play for the gold medal against Russia on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

A fourth Rangers prospect, center Roman Horak, is competing in the World Junior relegation round with the Czech Republic. Horak picked up his first point of the tournament in a 3-2 win over Germany on Sunday.
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