About the League
JHC Dynamo Moscow and Loko Yaroslavl head-coaches and players comment on the first game of the season
Parimatch Junior Hockey League regular season kicked off in Krasnogorsk. Latest Kharlamov Cup Playoffs finalists put up quite a show at Vladimir Petrov Arena. Loko came back from trailing 4-2 but Moscow still ended up victorious in the shootout.
We take a closer look at main storylines of the first game of the season along with quotes from the participants.
Starts for a vivid start
In their final game of the pre-season, prior to the start of Junior Hockey League regular season, JHC Dynamo Moscow put an experimental roster on the ice. Aside from forward Daniil Gutik, who entered his last Junior Hockey League season, and several players born in 2002, Dynamo dressed only those players who still wear full-face masks.
Moscow made serious adjustment for their first regular season game as several reigning Kharlamov Cup champions were sent down to the juniors. Dmitry Zlodeyev, Vasily Machulin, Alexander Kisakov, Ivan Didkovsky and Arman Ititsyan participated in the game in Krasnogorsk. Notably, Loko Yaroslavl also added several experienced players to the roster – namely, Pavel Tyutnev and Daniil Tesanov, who had spent the pre-season with KHL’s Lokomotiv.
Didkovsky spent almost 20 minutes on the ice taking five shots on net, which was the best result among Dynamo players. However, the forward didn’t look great late in the game as he took a penalty in overtime leaving his team shorthanded and also didn’t convert on his shootout attempt.
“I went out there for overtime thinking that I had to score. I expected myself to score in the shootout after that. However, I came up empty on both counts. I have a room to grow. I could have played better. I’m an adult now so I have to lead the team by example. I thought, I would be blamed in the dressing-room but that wasn’t the case,” said Ivan Didkovsky.
- JHC Dynamo Moscow head-coach Yaroslav Lyuznekov said that you would be called up back to VHL after tomorrow’s game. Have you heard about it?
“Nope, that’s the first time I hear it,” said the forward with a laugh.
Here’s a piece of good news for Didkovsky – Yaroslav Igorevich did say that. He also confirmed reporters’ guess as experienced players would only play for JHC Dynamo Moscow in games against Kharlamov Cup runners-up.
“After the second game some players will join our KHL team, while others will report to our VHL team. Starting next week we’re going to dress a lot more young players. There’s going to be a lot of players born in 2005 in the game againt Almaz [Cherepovets]. As for our more experienced players, we’re going to see how it’s going to pan out. It’s likely some of them will be back. We have a lot of players of several age groups, so we’re going to have to rotate them. There’s no other way,” confirmed Yaroslav Lyuzenkov.
- How difficult was it for you to incorporate experienced players , who spent very little time with the junior team in the off-season, into your roster?
- Everyone is familiar with our demands but it was difficult to pump them up. After all, they weren’t quite their on emotional level. The boys want to play in VHL and KHL. However, to do that they have to put on display their high level of play in every Junior Hockey League game. We’re going to have a talk with these players and fix the mistakes in time for the second game.
Dynamo dressed one player born in 2005 for the game against Loko Yarosavl – defenseman Valentin Rodionov. He played just over 10 minutes on a defensive pairing with more experienced Vladislav Sapunov. He wasn’t put on the ice in situations that called for more responsibility. However, Yaroslav Lyuzenkov assured that it’s going to change by the time of next series.
Loko dressed as many as three players born in 2005. Defenseman Gennady Chalyi was third among Yaroslavl defensemen with almost 17 minutes of ice-time. The player who turned 16 years old just this August finished the game as a plus-2 and also picked up an assist. Dmitry Simashov, who is Chalyi’s major by six months, spent almost 14 minutes on the ice. He was a plus-1, provided two hits and blocked a shot.
Forward Daniil But is considered to be the biggest star of Russian hockey born in 2005. In the pre-season Lokomotiv Yaroslavl sports director Alexander Ardashev put together a line with Nikita Kiriyanov at center, while Stepan Steshenko and Daniil But as his wingers. Kiriyanov was a notable forward on Yaroslavl last season but he played on the second line, overshadowed by Stepan Nikulin, Ruslan Abrosimov and Ilya Chefanov. Steshenko moved to Yaroslavl from Togliatti. As for But, who is two years younger than his linemates, he just made his Junior Hockey League debut.
“I was a little nervous prior to the game but it went away after just a couple of shifts,” said But after his first Junior Hockey League game. “After all I played quite a few games in the pre-season. Obviously, Junior Hockey League is a new experience for me. It’s not an easy tournament. You have to make quicker decisions here. But I feel the trust coming from our coaching staff and I do my best to be worthy of it. My main goal for the season is to win the Kharlamov Cup. Individually, I will do my best to score as many points as possible and become the top-scorer of Junior Hockey League. Nikita Kiriyanov and Stepan Steshenko are great linemates. They give me a lot of advice – how to play better offensively, how to help out forwards, how to make better passes. I’m younger than them so their experience is really helpful.”
Despite the loss Alexander Ardashev looked confident in the mixed zone after that game and once again pointed out that Loko is ready to dress the youngest possible players for Junior Hockey League games.
“We have good and talented players born in 2004 and 2005. I believe, we can elevate their level of play during the season and by the end of it we’re going to have a good and well-bonded team. Chalyi, Simashev and But – are the best players of their age group in the country. They prove they belong in Junior Hockey League,” said Ardashev.
Several days prior to the start of Parimatch Junior Hockey League regular season Alexei Shevchenko, the host of Junior News, stated that “there is a possibility that Yegor Guskov will spend the season in Junior Hockey League as there’s no reason to sit as the third goaltender on KHL team, while [Lokomotiv’s farm team] VHL’s Molot relies on more experienced netminders, namely promising Vladislav Okoryak”. “There is a possibility that Yegor will be back in Junior Hockey League,” said Shevchenko. “I spoke to Guskov and he said he just wanted to play”.
Yegor Gorshkov and Yegor Guskov both made Loko’s roster for the season-opener. Yaroslavl coaching staff gave the nod to Gorshkov who started the game. Early in the second period JHC Dynamo Moscow scored twice in a span of 90 second, making it 3-2, which prompted Loko to swap their goaltenders as Gorshkov stopped just .864 of the shots he faced. Guskov allowed just one goal on a penalty kill – his former teammate Daniil Gutik zinged it past him.
Guskov is one of the candidates for Team Russia’s 2022 World Juniors roster. Yegor is expected to climb up the next rung on the club vertical ladder but there’s a tight competition among Lokomotiv goaltenders. Alexander Ardashev was willing to elaborate on the subject.
“We spent a lot of time thinking about who would start in goal for us in that game,” said Ardashev. “Yegor Gorshkov spent the entire pre-season with us and he played really well. As for Yegor Guskov, he spent most of his time with the KHL team and Team Russia. He didn’t play a lot of games for us in the pre-season and we decided to play it safe so to speak. After all Yegor Gorshkov will play for us more often so it terms of psychology it was the right decision. We don’t want to yank Gorshkov just because a KHL player was sent down. But when a goaltender allows three goals, it calls for certain adjustment to reenergize the team”.
- Where Guskov is going to spend most of his time this season?
- It’s difficult to tell. We don’t have a VHL team. It’s going to depend on Lokomotiv coaching staff.