Last year, Latvia participated in the U18 World Junior Championship for the first time since getting promoted from Division I in 2011. Many experts and journalists expected the Baltic state to fight to keep themselves in the elite group, but Latvians took their mission to another level.
Valentin Zykov might be a Russian playing junior hockey for a Quebec-based team, but the burly right winger proved he belonged on Team Cherry during the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this week.
In spite of expectations before the tournament, Team Latvia was relegated to next year's WJC Division 1, Group A tournament. Icing what was considered their best roster in recent years wasn't enough, however, as the deciding game against Team Germany finished with a 5-2 score.
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