Photo: Karpat forward and Nashville Predators prospect Saku Maenalanen (R) has been the top goal-scorer for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
Photo: The host country for the 2014 World Junior Championship, Sweden, has performed well so far at this WJC, going undefeated in three games including a 5-3 win over Switzerland on opening night (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
It has been an interesting 2014 World Junior Championship so far, with one major upset plus a fair amont of offense being generated, albeit with a couple of teams proving to be far more generous than most of the field competing in Malmo, Sweden.
Photo: Kitchener Rangers forward and Dallas Stars prospect Radek Faksa is the most established player on a Czech Republic WJC squad that features mostly younger or unheralded talent (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
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.
Photo: Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Marek Langhamer is currently ranked 6th in the WHL with a goals-against average of 2.45 in 15 games (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Just like all other participants at the 2014 Under-20 World Junior Championship, Team Czech Republic is amid its preparation for the annual pinnacle of the junior hockey season that is this time being held in the Swedish city of Malmö.
Photo: Chomutov Pirates forward and 2014 prospect Ondrej Kase is hoping to be a part of the Czech Republic’s team that will be taking part in the 2014 World Junior Championship later this month (courtesy of HC Chomutov)
It looks like it could be a solid draft year for the Czech Republic in 2014 with David Pastrňák and Jakub Vrána, two upper round candidates based in Sweden, and many more potential later round prospects playing either in Sweden, Canada or in their homeland. Thanks to a new rule implemented by the Czech Ice Hockey Association, prospects are also getting much more ice-time in the Extraliga than in recent years.