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: Niagara IceDogs defenseman and 2014 prospect Aleksandar Mikulovich is one of several players on Russia’s U18 roster that competed in North America during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After last year's disappointing results, a fourth place finish on home soil, Team Russia will present itself at the U18 World Championship with a good roster that includes many players competing in Canada's major junior leagues. The roster also features a good selection of players playing in Russia, some of them with KHL experience.
Photo: Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau is Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month for March. Gaudreau was stellar in March, managing six goals and eight assists through six games. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Boston College forward and Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for March. The player known as "Johnny Hockey" was a standout last month, managing six goals and eight assists through six games, including a six-point night against the University of Denver on March 29th.
Photo: Boston College goaltender and 2014 prospect Thatcher Demko has turned in a stellar freshman season between the pipes for the Eagles, a season that he and his teammates hope will end with a national championship (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
As the 2013-14 season progresses, the order at the top of the ISS Hockey 2014 NHL Draft rankings seems to have further solidified. Case in point: the top five prospects in the March rankings is the same order as the top five from the February rankings.
Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich was a scoring star for Russia’s bronze medal-winning squad at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)
In spite of the bad performance at the recent Winter Olympics, Russia keeps on producing good players at a good rate, as confirmed by the recent good showing of the WJC squad.