Rangers prospects Chris Kreider
and Ryan Bourque
helped Team USA beat Sweden 6-3 on Tuesday afternoon at the USA National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid, N.Y. The game was the first of four for the 28 players trying to earn spots on the 2011 U.S. World Junior team.
|Rangers prospect Chris Kreider poses with two young Rangers fans outside the arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., shortly before Kreider and his U.S. hockey teammates faced Sweden on Tuesday. |
As returning members of the 2010 team that won gold in Saskatchewan, Kreider and Bourque stand a good chance of being part of the team that goes to Buffalo in late December, and their performances in the camp so far have aided that cause.
Kreider and Bourque did not figure in the scoring on Tuesday, although both played key roles and saw a lot of ice time in the Americans' victory. Bourque was particularly valuable in what turned out to be a very chippy game, as he blocked shots and killed penalty after penalty for the U.S., while also taking many key defensive-zone faceoffs.
The Americans stormed out to a 4-0 lead with four goals in the opening period's first 4:05, essentially putting the game away. Minnesota Wild prospect Jason Zucker notched the game's first goal at the 1:16 mark, and Derek Forbort, a 2010 first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, made it 2-0 just 1:20 later.
Only 31 seconds after Forbort's goal, it was 3-0 on the strength of a Justin Faulk power-play goal, and San Jose prospect Charlie Coyle stretched the lead to 4-0 just 58 seconds after Faulk scored.
Sweden, however, refused to fold. The Swedes lifted goalie Robin Lehner for backup Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel and went on to score the game's next three goals, coming as close as 4-3 on a Jacob Josefson tally at 11:31 of the middle period.
|Rangers 2010 sixth-round pick Jesper Fasth is competing for Sweden this week in Lake Placid. |
Faulk, a Carolina Hurricanes draftee, gave the U.S. some breathing room at 5-3 with his second goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play at 9:51 of the third, and Islanders draftee Brock Nelson closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 19:48.
The penalty-filled third period featured 14 total minors and was particularly frustrating for Kreider, the Rangers' 2009 first-round pick who is entering his sophomore season at Boston College. Kreider was whistled for diving at 8:40 of the third and was later sent off for tripping at 15:23.
It was a rough game for Rangers prospect Jesper Fasth
of Team Sweden. Fasth, the Blueshirts' 2010 sixth-round pick, was hit hard behind the U.S. net by Adam Clendening during a delayed penalty at 10:34 of the second and was down for several seconds before skating off woozily. Fasth, who plays for HV-71 of the Swedish Elitserien, had scored a goal in his country's win over Finland on Monday.
Team USA returns to the ice at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to face the Finns.