Kazakhstan Returns to World Juniors for First Time Since 2009

Kazakhstan Returns to World Juniors for First Time Since 2009

Steven Ellis16 Dec 2017Steven Ellis»
 

For the first time in ten years, Kazakhstan's U20 team will find themselves in the top World Junior tournament in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the 2019 World Juniors.

 
 
 
 

For the first time in ten years, Kazakhstan's U20 team will find themselves in the top World Junior tournament in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the 2019 World Juniors.

Kazakhstan had to beat France in order to stop Latvia from getting promoted, a tough task given the talent that was on Latvia's roster. Kazakhstan had a 3-0 lead in the second before the French got one late in the middle stanza, giving them some life. A three-goal third period, however, stopped the French from playing the spoiler on the final day of the Division IA World Juniors, instead falling victim to the eventual champions.

An important win against Latvia early in the tournament proved big for Kazakhstan, giving them the tiebreaker in the end. The Kazakhs were led offensively by Artur Gatiyatov, who's seven points placed him first in the tournament after five games. 

It's been a long time coming for Kazakhstan, who last played in the World Juniors in 2009. There, Canada stomped them 15-0 and USA beat them 12-0, two of the biggest losses in World Junior history. Since then, the team went on to fall to Division IB before getting promoted for the 2016 tournament. The team has previously played in six World Junior tournaments, with their best showing being the 1999  World Juniors, when Nik Antropov helped the team avoid relegation after grabbing a victory against Switzerland and a tie against Belarus.

Hungary will be relegated to Division IB for the 2019 event after dropping a 5-2 decision to Austria on the final day. Replacing them will be Norway, who beat Poland in a thrilling final game in shootout to move up after being relegated a year ago.

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