• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
With only six days left before the start of the World Junior Championship, eight tournament teams took the ice for exhibition games on Wednesday evening.
Team USA crushed Belarus 14-0, Canada trounced the Czechs 9-0, Russia topped Denmark 5-2, and the Finns came back to beat the Swiss 4-2. So it looks like the North American teams are very formidable and their upcoming outdoor showdown should be a classic (just don't call it a Winter Classic).
Outside of those four pre-tournament games, there wasn't a whole lot of prospect-related action on a Wednesday during the major-junior holiday break. It was tough to squeak out a top-performances list for such a light day, but we do have three, including two Swiss players. Check out Wednesday's trio below:
PHILIPP KURASHEV -- The World Juniors provide players with a chance to showcase skills not as readily apparent within the structure of their major-junior or European leagues. Kurashev has had a solid season with the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts, but the Swiss center still needs to show more if he plans to be taken in the first round. On Wednesday, Kurashev scored at 16:48 of the first period, giving Switzerland a short-lived 2-1 lead over Finland at Niagara, N.Y. The Swiss went on to win 4-2, but it was a good sign for Kurashev, who has 31 points in 33 games for Quebec. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DYLAN PENA-TRIANA -- Pena-Triana is not on the Swiss World Junior team, and he didn't get to play in the World Junior A Challenge either. Despite this lack of exposure, the 17-year-old has been turning heads in Switzerland's Under-20 league. On Wednesday, he helped Bern crush Zug 7-2 by scoring two goals and adding an assist. His first goal was the game-winner for a 3-0 lead at 15:15 of the opening period. He notched the primary assist on the 4-0 goal at 2:13 of the second, and closed the scoring at 16:33 of the third. Pena-Triana has 11 goals and 24 points in 25 games, but he has raised his play of late. He's on a four-game scoring streak in which he has averaged two points per game. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BRADY TKACHUK -- In his last few NCAA games, Tkachuk had been on a roll for Boston University. He continued to shine on Wednesday by scoring in Team USA's 14-0 cakewalk over Belarus. He was perfect as the left wing on a line with 2017 first-round picks Casey Mittelstadt and Kailer Yamamoto, as his fierce competitiveness was on full display. His goal at 14:47 of the second period made it 9-0, resulting from a play Tkachuk started by keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Although he is one of the youngest USA players, Tkachuk might be one of the host country's stars of the 2018 World Junior tournament -- just like his father, Keith, who captained the 1992 U.S. team to a bronze medal, and his brother, Matthew, who won the 2016 bronze. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)