The Rangers prospects closed out their group games with a 4-3 OT loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blueshirts held three leads in the game, but ultimately couldn't pull ahead a fourth time and paid the price with a breakaway goal to Justin Shugg during 3 on 3 OT.
AHL signee Jonathan Audy-Marchessault continued his strong tournament form with a PP goal to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, while Shane McColgan and Christian Thomas picked up the other two goals.
For New York, the game was played at a slower pace, with the larger Hurricanes giving the smaller Ranger forwards more trouble. Carolina got much of the early pressure before a more balanced second period and a third period that saw the Rangers apply much of the pressure as they outshot their opponents 23-5.
With the scores tied 3-3 at the end of the regulation, the Hurricanes got the step in OT with Dylan McIlrath heading to the box allowing Carolina to take a 9-1 shot advantage in the two extra four minute periods - first 4 on 4 then 3 on 3.
The game ended late, when Christian Thomas lost the puck in the snow at the Carolina blueline allowing Shugg to skate the length and backhand a shot between the legs of goaltender Jason Missiaen.
For the Rangers, the picks of the game amongst the forwards would have to be McColgan and Marchessault, with the two smaller forwards often creating offensive chances. Thomas stepped up his game a bit, and lead both teams with seven shots on goal, and Carl Hagelin bounced back from a quiet game to register six.
Ryan Bourque was quiet through the first two periods, before picking it up in the third, and JT Miller continued to show flashes, including stepping in to protect Bourque after his linemate was shoved to the ice following a whistle. Noticeably, McColgan was ready to step in as well.
Michael St Croix was quiet once more, and perhaps was the least impressive of the attending 2011 draft picks through the first three games. Tommy Grant was back in the lineup, and was barely noticed in limited ice time.
You have to figure that there's a good chance that none of the three tryouts who dressed - Jordan Hickmott, Tayler Jordan and Kale Kerbashian are likely to be dressed in tomorrow's game, all three looked a touch below in class.
Randy McNaught also returned to the line-up and saw limited ice time on the fourth line.
On the blueline, Tim Erixon really started to stand out as the game went on, playing almost the entire overtime period including the full two minute penalty kill. He looked one of the calmest players on the ice, patrolling the blueline and put six shots on net, and several more into dangerous areas. Samuel Noreau drew praise from Jim Schoenfeld, and the Rangers brass seem to believe he's further along than where they thought he'd be.
Veteran Jyri Niemi looked more comfortable than in the first game, but was a definite second fiddle to Erixon and McIlrath, the latter perhaps getting less than praise when Gordie Clarke noted that if he continues to improve at the same rate, it'll be where they expect him to be.
In goal, Jason Missiaen stopped 35 of the 39 shots, making some of his best stops in OT.
Clarke also tiptoed around Chris Kreider's decision to return to Boston College, a decision that he seemed not to agree with, stating that it was "[Kreider's] perogative" to return to school and that "[Kreider] has to look after his own career, and do what he thinks is right". He went onto note that Brad Richards skated along side him in the informal drills in Greenburgh, and asked who he was - half jokingly.
Other notes from Clarke included
- Jesper Fasth is further ahead than where they thought he'd be as a 19 year old
- McColgan would be his pick for the tournament so far
- You'd expect Thomas to be scoring more goals in this tournament
The Rangers will play again tomorrow night against the Buffalo Sabres to determine who will go home with the title - 7:00pm MSG/NHL.