Photo: Team Finland forward and 2014 prospect Kasperi Kapanen saw his first extensive action in the Liiga, Finland’s top league, in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Team Finland saw their dreams of winning gold on home ice come to an end at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship. The Finns drew Sweden, the country they defeated in the gold medal game of the U20 torunament a few months back, in their quarterfinal match at the U18. Sweden, the host team of that U20, obviously hadn't forgotten that loss as they posted a 10-0 win over Finland to move on to the semi-finals and end the Finns' tournament.
Photo: Team Finland forward and 2014 prospect Waltteri Hopponen began the season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, but was released once Mirco Mueller returned to the Silvertips from the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
The host country for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, Finland, was no doubt hoping to repeat the gold medal performance of that country's U20 squad's win in January at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship that was held in Malmo, Sweden.
Photo: Team Russia forward Yevgeni Svechnikov (L), shown here competing at last year’s U18 tournament, has been the top offensive player for Russia at the 2014 U18 World Championship (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The preliminary round of the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship is over and the playoff match-ups are set. Despite the odd surprise performances to start off the tournament, the teams have finished off group play in a manner conducive with most expectations coming in. Take a look at who’s up against whom in the playoffs and who you should expect to move on to the next round.
Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and 2014 prospect Kasperi Kapanen, shown here playing at the 2013 U18 World Championship, will play for host Finland at the 2014 edition of this tournament (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Finland, the host team for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, finished fifth in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last summer despite winning three of the four games it played. With a number of key additions — particularly on defense — the U18 team competing in Imatra and Laapenranta should be stronger than the team that skated in Piestany, Slovakia.
Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.