Rangers’ Gabe Perreault, Drew Fortescue to play for gold medal with United States at 2024 WJC

Gabriel Perreault
Gabe Perreault (Photo Credit: BC Athletics)

It was a rollercoaster ride for Gabe Perreault and the United States on Thursday at the 2024 World Junior Championship. But when the wild ride was over, the New York Rangers prospect helped lead the U.S. into the gold medal game with a razor-thin 3-2 win against Finland in the semifinals.

The United States fell into a 2-0 hole in the first period. And Perreault was on ice with linemates Will Smith and Ryan Leonard for each goal against.

But they were determined to help the U.S. get back in the game. Perreault was on for Jimmy Snuggerud’s power-play goal at 12:10 of the second period and then the Rangers first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft made one of his biggest contributions of the tournament, so far.

Perreault made gorgeous cross-crease pass from right wing to left, leaving Smith with a wide-open cage. Smith didn’t make a mistake, burying Perreault’s feed at 16:16 to tie the game, 2-2.

The United States then took advantage of a questionable hooking call against Finland with five minutes remaining in regulation. Cutter Gauthier scored with 3:13 to play to give the U.S. its first lead.

The spotlight again found Perreault 40 seconds after Gauthier’s goal. That’s when the 18-year-old was whistled for a questionable hooking penalty of his own. Two nerve-wracking minutes later, Perreault exited the penalty box and the United States held on for a 3-2 win.

Rangers’ Gabe Perreault, Drew Fortescue have chance to win gold medal at 2024 World Juniors

NHL: NHL Draft
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With the victory, the United States advanced to play host Sweden for the gold medal. Sweden defeated Czechia 5-2 in the semifinals.

Perreault has seven points (two goals, five assists) in six games at the 2024 WJC. He had the important assist in 12:37 of ice time Thursday.

Rangers’ defenseman prospect Drew Fortescue was held off the score sheet against Finland. He had two shots on goal, each in the second period, in 15:55 of ice time. The 18-year-old has three points (one goal, two assists) in six games.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said U.S. head coach David Carle, whose team trailed 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes. “Even though we were down, I didn’t mind our first period and there was no panic in the room. Our special teams and goaltending were excellent and we’re excited to have the chance to play for a gold medal tomorrow.”

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Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny