The preliminary round has come and gone at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, and Groups A and B each featured one fairly dominant team.
Latvia came into the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship hoping to at least equal that country's performance at the 2012 version of this tournament.
As the hosts of this 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championship, the Russians would love to prove that they are the best hockey country of the world. They won their last gold from this event in 2007, but last year failed to reach a medal position. As you know, hockey always carries a huge importance in Russia, but now, with the tournament on their own soil, they will probably make an even bigger deal out of this tournament. Unfortunately, the Russian Hockey Federation hasn't released the final roster as of this writing, but there are some names that should be in the mix once the WJC gets underway.
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.