Stepan gets three points in World Jr. opener
Rangers' 2008 second-round draft pick is Team USA captain at tourney
• Kreider Watch
• Stepan Watch
It was a big night for the three American Rangers prospects at the World Junior Championship hockey tournament on Saturday, as the trio helped Team USA rout Slovakia 7-3 in the tourney opener for both teams at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Fellow Rangers prospect Chris Kreider also hit the scoresheet with an assist in the game. Kreider tied Stepan and three other U.S. players with a team-high five shots on goal and was plus-1 for the game.
Currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Stepan helped get Team USA on the scoreboard at 9:34 of the first, assisting an even-strength goal to make it 2-1. The Americans went on to tie the game at 2:50 of the second period, and then took the lead for good when Stepan scored an even-strength tally at 5:39 of the second to make it 3-2.
Kreider, the Rangers' first-round pick last June, helped stretch the lead to 4-2 less than a minute after Stepan's goal by assisting on a power-play tally at 6:36 of the second.
Stepan picked up his third point of the night with an assist on Danny Kristo's goal at 13:54 of the second, making it a 5-3 game. Team USA added two goals in the third to run away with an easy win, outshooting Slovakia 46-20.
Rangers prospect Ryan Bourque, a center drafted in the third round last June, also played for Team USA, skating on the second line in the victory. He finished the night with a plus-1 rating.
The Americans will go for their second straight win when they face Switzerland on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
One other Rangers prospect, forward Roman Horak, also competed in the World Junior tournament on Saturday, as he took part in the Czech Republic's 10-1 loss to Sweden at Regina. Horak, a 2009 fifth-round Rangers draft pick who plays in the Western Hockey League, had one shot and was minus-3 for the game. The Czechs resume play on Sunday against Finland.