Twelve months ago in Sochi, the Czech Republic's U18 squad was at the beginning of what could be a beautiful ride that could see the Czechs finally grabbing a medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. This year's U18 team from this Central European nation has grown and matured since last year's competition, and is now looking more like a medal contender.
The second quarterfinal contest taking place on Thursday at the 2014 World Junior Championship features Finland facing off against the Czech Republic. Finland was probably the more accomplished of the two teams during the preliminary round, but not by so wide a margin that a Czech victory is unthinkable.
The 2014 World Junior Championship is set to begin Thursday in Malmö, Sweden with the Czech Republic squad looking to surprise some observers. The Czechs performed well last year in Ufa, Russia, beating Latvia, Switzerland and Finland before being eliminated by the United States in the quarterfinals following a 7-0 victory for the Americans. The Czechs ended last year's WJC in fifth place, but may be hard pressed to equal that accomplishment this year.
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