Rangers prospects continue to shine in early stages of 2024 WJC

Gabriel Perreault
Gabe Perreault (Photo Credit: BC Athletics)

Rangers prospect Gabe Perreault scored in the fifth round of the shootout to help the United States edge Czechia 4-3 on Friday at the 2024 World Junior Championship.

The New York Rangers’ first-round pick (No. 23) in the 2023 NHL Draft kept the United States (2-1-0-0) alive in the shootout by scoring on their final attempt, trailing 1-0. Perreault’s shot went in off Czechia goalie Michael Hrabal. If he had missed, the U.S. would have lost its first game in preliminary round play.

After Czechia failed to score, Perreault was sent out to shoot again in Round 6. The 18-year-old deked but was denied by Hrabal on a backhand shot. United States forward Isaac Howard scored the deciding goal in the seventh round.

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Gabe Perreault, Drew Fortescue have ups, downs in United States’ 4-3 win against Czechia

Gabe Perreault
Gabe Perreault warms up (Photo taken by Alan Selavka)

Perreault had an active game Friday. He nearly scored his first goal of the tournament early in the second period but was stopped by Hrabal on an in-tight opportunity.

The Rangers forward prospect picked up an assist on Will Smith’s goal at 8:04 of the second period that tied the game 2-2. Perreault made a nice play controlling the puck surrounded by two Czechia defenders on left wing in the offensive zone. He then passed to Ryan Leonard, who found Smith all alone in front for the goal. It was another clutch play made by Perreault since Czechia had scored to take the lead less than two minutes prior.

However, he was beaten on a backcheck on a goal scored by Czechia’s Robin Sapousek that put the U.S. in a 3-2 hole at 11:47 of the second. Rangers defenseman prospect Drew Fortescue fell down on the play, creating an odd-man advantage down low for Czechia.

Fortescue logged 17:23 in ice time and was held without a point. He paired with Eric Pohlkamp on defense because Fortescue’s regular partner, Seamus Casey, was ill and did not play.

Perreault has three assists in three games and Fortescue has one assist.

Rangers’ Adam Sykora picks up first point, helps Slovakia win again

Adam Sykora, New York’s second-round pick (No. 63) in the 2022 draft, picked up his first point at the WJC, helping Slovakia (3-0-0-0) to an 8-4 win against Norway on Friday.

Sykora had the primary assist on Servac Petrovsky’s goal that gave Slovakia a 5-1 lead at 7:10 of the second period. The 19-year-old was plus-one in 16:02 of ice-time Friday and is plus-three in the tournament.

Slovakia’s captain also was on ice for two other goals scored by his team and a pair scored by Norway.

The three Rangers prospects participating in the 2024 WJC will be on the same ice Sunday when the United States plays Slovakia in the final Group B preliminary game. The elimination round begins Tuesday.

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