Photo: Russian players Nikita Zadorov (L) and Mikhail Grigorenko (R) celebrate Grigorenko’s goal, the first one for Russia in their 2-1 win over Canada in the bronze medal game at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN / TT/AFP/Getty Images)
For the fourth straight year, Russia earned a medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship. And, for the third time in those four years, Canada was on the losing side of that equation as Russia won the bronze medal game at this year's event, 2-1. With both countries entering the tournament with elevated expectations, playing for bronze is not something they planned on doing. But, with other countries showing improvement in their hockey programs, it may well be the new normal for these two hockey powers.
Photo: Team Russia forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect meets with the media following his country’s win over the USA at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Team Russia took advantage of some penalty problems enndured by the USA to pull out a 5-3 win in their quarterfinal match at the 2014 World Junior Championship. The win sends the Russians on to the semi-finals where they'll meet the winner of the Sweden-Slovakia contest.
Photo: Team Russia players Nikita Zadorov (L) and Anton Slepyshev celebrate Zadorov’s go-ahead goal in their country’s 5-3 win over the USA at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)
After falling behind Team USA 3-2 in the first period of their quarterfinal match at the 2014 World Junior Championship, Russia proceeded to score the next three goals in the game to secure a 5-3 win along with a trip to the semi-finals.
Photo: Buffalo Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko has seen limited action with the NHL club in 2013-14, scoring two goals and adding one assist in 18 games this season (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The outcome is no doubt not what they hoped for, as Russia fell to host Sweden, 3-2, in their final game of the preliminary round at the 2014 World Junior Championship. Russia lives to fight another day, of course, but the road to the gold medal game just became slightly more difficult with the loss on New Year's Eve.
Photo: Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect and current Rochester American Rasmus Ristolainen is taking part in his third U20 World Junior Championship with Finland (courtesy of Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
Finland began the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament with a solid win over Norway on Friday, defeating that country 5-1. But their usual nemesis, Sweden, defeated Finland on the third day of the tournament, taking a 4-2 decision from the Finns.