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Josie and Derek Stepan pose for a photo during the Stanley Cup Final in New York City last week. Submitted photos

Stepan, Rangers come up short in bid for Stanley Cup

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Three overtime losses put an end to the National Hockey League season for Hastings native Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers.

The team lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings in five games, 4-1.

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Many family members made the trip out to New York City for games three and four, including Stepan’s sister Josie.

“It was exciting,” she said. “I’m glad they didn’t get swept and that they battled back. Madison Square Garden is such a fun place. It was crazy. I’ve never experienced anything like it – it was quite the crowd.”

Josie Stepan saw her brother’s photo plastered on buses and his name on the back of dozens and dozens of fan jerseys. She was also recognized by hardcore Rangers fans who have seen the “Beginnings: Derek Stepan” video on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2qg9Cw4-wc.

“Some of them recognize me from TV and want to take pictures with me,” she said with a laugh. “It’s the weirdest thing.”

While Josie Stepan has been to several of Derek’s games over the years, going to a playoff game at Madison Square Garden was something altogether different.

“The fans are just at a whole other level,” she said. “People are more into it. It was just a crazy time.”

She’s often asked by friends what it’s like to see her brother on TV, and she said it’s still a surreal experience.

“It’s still not real to me that he has made it this far,” she said. “Even after these three or four years, it’s still crazy. It’s crazy that it’s my brother that people worship.

“I’m so proud of him, and all the hard work he has put into his career. What an incredible ride it has been to watch him and support him and be his sister.”

The Rangers lost the first game in overtime to the Kings, 3-2.

They lost the second game in double overtime, 5-4.

In game three, the Kings won handily, 3-0.

The Rangers won game four, 2-1, but then lost game five in double overtime, 3-2.

Stepan finished the playoffs with 15 points, tied for second on the team. He had five goals and 10 assists in 24 games for the Rangers.

Stepan literally saved the day for the Rangers in game four with a save on a puck that was inches from going into the net. To see video of that, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXc2SXpX90M.

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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