16 KHL players are representing Russia in the Czech Republic, and they were among the best players for the team led by Valery Bragin. The team’s top scorer is Kirill Marchenko – helped by a five-point performance against the Germans – who produced 6 (2+4) points for the Russians. But perhaps, the best all-around performer for Team Russia was Ak Bars’ Dmitry Voronkov. The forward amassed 4 (1+3) points and leads the tournament with a striking plus-eight. On the plus/minus department, CSKA’s blueliner Alexander Romanov was expected to be one of the favorites for the first place in the standings, and for now, he is not disappointed with a plus-five – all this while scoring at a point-per-game pace with the same totals as Voronkov. In a team with some on-ice discipline issues, his zero PIMs are more than welcome.
At his second WJC, Grigory Denisenko is playing very well with two goals and as many helpers, even if he struggled to find chemistry with his linemates for most of the games. The Lokomotiv’s forward, who’s captaining the team, also scored against the Germans with a beautiful blue-line slapshot. Highly touted Vasily Podkolzin gave a lot of energy to the team, and while he was expected to score more, he has still produced a respectable 3 (1+2) points in four games. Set as three points – all goals – is Metallurg’s Pavel Dorofeyev. He has struggled early in the tournament, but his double against the Germans should give him confidence for the medal round.
In goal, last year, the Russians had an undisputable starter in Pyotr Kochetkov between the piping. This year, both goalies Amir Miftakhov and the young Yaroslav Askarov showed plenty of ups and downs, and choosing who to start will probably the staff’s biggest headache. Miftakhov posted the better stats – and had a shutout against Canada – but he seemed in trouble against the USA, being replaced by Askarov in the third period. The young SKA goalie had a good performance against Team Germany, but the opposition scored in his lone mistake of the game.
For the second year in a row, the Kazakhs will play in the relegation round after losing all their four Group A games. The team’s top scorer, Maxim Musorov, scored four goals in four games in the round-robin and played 12 games in the KHL this season. He is also one of the top scorers in the JHL in the points-per-game category and is surprisingly in the top-five of the tournament for goals scored.
The World Junior Championship will return on Jan. 2, 2020.