Team Russia have never won a gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge which began in 2006, but came close to ending that drought at this year's event.
With only a pair of bronze medals to show in the first seven tournaments, Russia have now medalled the past three years including a pair of silver medals.
The Russians posted the lowest goals-against average in the tournament, backstopped by the goaltending duo of Mikhail Berdin and Vladislav Sukhachev.
Berdin delivered a gem in the gold medal game - stopping 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss - the only goals he allowed in the tournament.
Posted the lowest goals-against-average (0.80) and top save percentage (.963) and was named to the Tournament All-Star Team .. spearheaded the semi-final comeback over Team USA, replacing Vladislav Sukhachev with Russia trailing 4-3 and stopping 11-of-11 shots en route to a 7-4 win .. sports healthy numbers back in the MHL (11-5, 1.97, .935) .. a poised, economical goalie with solid agility and quick reflexes .. plays a technical hybrid of styles - stand-up, butterfly, paddle-down .. does a sound job of tracking pucks and staying aware of his surroundings .. collapses to his knees comfortably - and is quick and efficient getting back to his feet .. moves side-to-side with a strong leg push - and maintains solid body form and control as he moves .. stays calm and shows excellent patience - notably 1-on-1 against shooters .. sustains composure under heavy pressure .. generally plays low to the ice and close to home on plays in and around his net - but will move out and challenge shooters on his feet .. manages rebounds well - quick to mop up loose pucks - using his stick and glove effectively .. will need to develop physically and thicken up a sizeable 6-2 frame .. listed at just 165 pounds.
Collected a gold, silver and bronze medal in his last three international competitions .. won gold at the 2014 World U17 Challenge, bronze at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka, and silver at the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) .. split duties with Berdin this year at the WJAC .. pulled in the semi-final game against Team USA - and did not get the start against Team West in the finals .. a highly acrobatic goalie with extraordinary athleticism and flexibility .. has cleaned up his game as he is not as much of a scrambler and tries to stay in the middle of his crease .. the strength of his game is that he is a very strong skater; able to move up and down and challenge shooters as a result .. recovers to the butterfly position quickly - has a hybrid style .. rebound control needs to be tightened up .. relishes an opportunity to play the puck as he made many outlet passes up ice and did not hesitate to leave his crease to play it .. lack of size cripples his NHL draft stock but he has performed well when called upon .. also a teammate of Berdin's in the MHL on U18 Team Russia after being sent there recently on loan from Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk.
Failed to register a point in the tournament but did many little things well as he played on both special teams .. possesses good feet for a big player as well as decent puck skills .. still needs to make quicker decisions with the puck, however his passes were crisp .. able to settle down pucks as his hands are better than most of his peers on the back end .. not a puck rusher though - did not advance the puck past the redline, and stayed within his own zone to make plays .. primarily defensive minded ,, did an effective job of handling 1-1's and showed good skating agility to keep up with most forwards laterally .. a player who is the sum of his parts as he offers size, dependability and a decent skating and skill base.
Alexander Yakovenko (2016), D
Played a ton of minutes on the back end for Team Russia, however his play was rather ordinary on the whole .. his puck skills are slightly better than average - but he only showed occasional the flash of skills .. mostly played within his limits at the line as he locates the first option and utilizes it .. his game is not flashy; more efficient .. plays both speciality teams .. showed okay jump, however his skating is not blinding .. might be more of a long shot to get drafted based on his performance at this event.
Nikita Makeyev (2016), D
Team captain functioned as a 'jack-of-all-trades' blueliner for Russia - playing in all situations .. undersized at 5-foot-9 and175 pounds, yet is a dependable defender who can make the simple play .. does not over extend his passes and plays well within his limits .. at times, he shows a bit of surliness in him but only when provoked .. demonstrated good positioning in the defensive zone to make up for his lack of size and reach .. ate up all kinds of minutes as the coaching staff leaned on him .. very average in terms of offering a dimension that NHL teams would gravitate towards.