About the League
The game between HK Riga and Kapitan Stupino went to the shootout and Latvian side came out victorious as Rolans Vasilijevs converted on one of the attempts. Vasilijevs’ attempt wasn’t the clincher but it definitely was the most beautiful as he beat Artemy Pleshkov with Nikita Kucherov’s no-move move.
Many fans are familiar with the move. Four years ago Kucherov sealed a win with it for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I thought of going for the move in a shootout about three years ago. Back then it was in fashion and many posted videos with the move on Instagram. I saw that on my newsfeed and decided to go for it. At first I tried it out a couple of times at practice and then I scored the shootout winner with the move in one junior Latvian championship game. Ever since then it has been my go-to move!”, shares Vasilijevs.
- Many believe the puck goes in at random rather than as the outcome of a well-calculated result when the move is applied.
- Not in my case! You can say that I have worked on the move for three years to make it automatic. The coaches saw me go for the move at practice and that’s why they trusted me with the attempt in the game against Kapitan. When I hit the ice, our whole team already knew what I was going for.
- How did they react to the beauty of it?
- Everyone was more happy about the win in the end. But they did praise me, too. They told me the move should be renamed after me!
- But now everyone knows about your go-to move and will be ready for it. Are you going to look for a new one?
- I will have to come up with something new! I recently saw how a Tyumensky Legion player converted on a shootout attempt with a Datsyukian move. The guy did a tremendous job! I will have to try it out at practice. I have never tried that one before.
- You’re a defenseman. What does the passion for shootout moves even stem from?
- We have a contest for the worst shootout player on HK Riga every week. I think every team has that going on. Amurskie Tigry [Khabarovsk] used to present the winner with a Carpenter Cup and Chayka [Nizhny Novgorod] would give a Pinocchio Cup. On our team the winner is nicknamed Shrek and a t-shirt with his image for a week! So it was exciting to compete in these tournaments throughout the season. I grew an interest for shootout and I wanted to improve in that regard.
- So who is the best at shootout on Riga?
- Kaspars Ziemins. He usually scores a ton! And Roberts Vorona gets to be Shrek quite often (laughs).
- You’re not the first to score a goal Kucherov style this season. Where do you think Junior Hockey League players get the fashion for laborious shootout attempts?
- The trend originated on social media. There a lot of ideas for beautiful shootout moves on Instagram. It’s on public access so anyone can pick a thing or two for themselves.
“Hopefully, Peteris Skudra saw my shootout move”
- This season HK Riga has certain roster troubles as forwards often have to play defense and vice versa. Do that mean that any player on your team can play any position?
- This season many Riga players get called up to Dinamo Riga and that’s why we’re getting more ice-time. This season is pretty unique. Players try out different positions and gain new experience. And the experience helps. Forward get to see defense from another side and they can discover something new.
- Have you been to KHL’s team already?
- I also do my best to get called up but I haven’t practiced with the team yet. Although, I believe I should get called up after such a move! Hopefully, Peteris Skudra saw my shootout attempt (laughs). Seriously, though, it all depends solely on us. I work hard to be adequate to the level of KHL team.
- This is your rookie season in Junior Hockey League. How did it pan out?
- Very contradicting. They were up and there were downs. All in all, it was a decent season, first of all, for my personal growth. I have gained important experience, got used to the tactics and to Junior Hockey League brand of hockey. I feel much more confident now than back in September. To play against SKA-1946 [St. Petersburg], Loko [Yaroslavl] and other strong teams is a great experience.