Nikita Kiryanov: “I didn’t like Michkov’s gesture towards the fans”

Playoffs
24.03.2021 в 10:00
Nikita Kiryanov: “I didn’t like Michkov’s gesture towards the fans”
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Things heated up in the series between Loko Yaroslavl and SKA-1946 St. Petersburg already in Game 1. The rivalry was also affected by the fact that Matvei Michkov went up against his former team.

Top goal-scorer of the regular season scored in the inaugural game of the series. It was the first career Kharlamov Cup Playoffs goal for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. What made the goal even more special was the celebration after – Michkov covered his ears, addressing booing Yaroslavl fans.

However, SKA-1946 allowed a goal in the following shift. Another Perm native, Nikita Kiryanov, sealed the deal with just over five minutes remaining on the clock in regulation as he gave Loko a 5-2 lead. Yaroslavl center celebrated his goal the same way, addressing it not to the fans but to St. Petersburg bench.

“I didn’t like Michkov’s gesture towards the fans. I think it was uncalled for and, perhaps, he should have done it,” said Kiryanov after the game. “So my gesture in respond wasn’t personal. I just responded on behalf of the fans.”

- You both played in Lokomotiv and Molot Perm systems. Have you met on the ice before?
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We’re both from Perm. We went to the same junior hockey school at first. We’ve known each other since we were kids. We have never played together but back in the pre-season we faced one another sometimes. We weren’t together on Lokomotiv but his father helped me to move. He gave some advice, showed me around – that kind of thing.

- You gesture caused heated debates on the Internet.
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It’s frustrating that people talk more about the gesture than about the goal. I managed to score right after a face-off. We worked on the component with our coaches. That was the advice they gave us. I was lucky – the puck bounced to the middle, Ilya Nazarov did the right thing drawing their defenseman towards hum and made a great pass. I just had to tap it in.

- Yaroslav Askarov is in goal for SKA-1946 in the series – he’s the U20 Team Russia and SKA St. Petersburg netminder. Did it affect the games in any way?
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We have the best goaltender of the regular season backing us up – Yegor Guskov. It’s getting more difficult to score on him with every practice! And it’s great to practice with the best.

- Your first games against SKA-1946 turned out to be very different. You combined for seven goals in Game 1, while Game 2 featured just one tally. What is the reason behind that?
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I think, the fact that there was just 16 hours separating the two games played its role. We went to bed at around 11pm after Game 1 – but it took us a while to calm down so we fell asleep really late. When you win, the emotions are flying high so it’s difficult to fall asleep. I was thinking about Game 2 because it would be a lot easier to go on the road up 2-0 in the series rather than tied 1-1. Besides, Game 2s are always more difficult. Opponents get used to each other and learn about one another. Yesterday the game was about making one mistake. We just got a little luckier than the opposition. But it was a really difficult game! Perhaps, we had a bit more confidence because we were up in the series.

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