Photo: Peterborough Petes defenseman and New York Rangers prospect Peter Ceresnak was the top defender for Slovakia at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
On the first day of tournament play at the 2013 World Junior Championship, Slovakia fell just short of what might have been the tournament’s biggest sensation when it turned around a 2-0 Russian lead to force the game to overtime, where Russian defenseman Albert Yarullin scored on a power play goal to decide it, 3-2.
Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Although Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has generated a bit of offense for Russia at the 2013 WJC, he has not been the offensive force he will need to be if Russia is to take the gold medal (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For hockey fans across the globe, the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF WJC has been just about everything anyone had ever hoped for. There’s been no lack of tension, rivalries, intrigue and background stories that have come together to make this tournament the type that fans everywhere crave.
Photo: Goals will be hard to come by for Slovakia at the 2013 WJC, but forward and 2013 prospect Marko Dano is likely to be relied on to help generate whatever offense his country can muster (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
It’s been a few years since Slovakia enjoyed its fairy tale run that included a victory over the USA and a quarterfinal appearance at the 2009 WJC. And, despite a sixth place finish at last winter’s tourney, Slovakia is once again entering an international tournament knowing it could just as easily be battling against relegation. The 2013 World Junior Championship will likely be no different.
Photo: Bemidji State winger and Anaheim Ducks prospect Radoslav Illo, shown here playing for Slovakia, has so far experienced a lengthy adjustment period to the NCAA's brand of hockey (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
When the Anaheim Ducks drafted Radoslav Illo in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, the organization thought it would be getting a potential pure goal scorer.