The Czech Republic had a relatively easy time of things in their first game of the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, but Game 2 was a different story as they dropped a hard-fought, 4-3 loss to the USA at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
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Not unlike their fellow Group A combatants, the Czech Republic, Finland feasted on Latvia in their first game of the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship. But the second game for the Finns was a much greater challenge, one that the team wasn't ultimately able to overcome as they lost to Russia, 3-1, at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
Minnesota's college hockey tradition has always been a strong part of its identity as a state, so it is no wonder that the Wild organization relies on the NCAA to bring some of its prospects along. Another major source of identity is Europe, where the Wild has looked to Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden many times in the past. Developmental strategies vary by coaching staffs, but the Minnesota Wild look to get players into situations that will best enhance their individual styles, giving each young man the opportunities he needs for personal and professional development.
The Maple Leafs have several prospects playing at the NCAA and European level. Tony Cameranesi boasts the most impressive season out of any NCAA prospect, while a strong performance from Swedish defenseman Tom Nilsson has earned him an entry-level deal with the Maple Leafs. All three of the Maple Leafs European prospects are Swedish.
The San Jose Sharks prospect pool continues to get better and better. The 2012-13 season has been a strong one for development, and while there looks to be a gap in high-end skill after top prospect Tomas Hertl, a number of prospects have really played themselves into the limelight and have shown at times an ability to possibly fill that gap.
Despite an opening game loss to Russia at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, Team USA forward Jack Eichel's first U18 game was a memorable one. After all, how many 16-year-old's can say that they played their first U18 WJC game in front of a packed house that included the president from the host country?
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