First star of the games against the arch-rivals is a 15-year-old forward.
Irbis Kazan, who went through a serious rebuilding process over the summer began the Parimatch Junior Hockey League regular season with eight consecutive losses. Kazan lost four games to the league’s newest member Loko-76 Yaroslavl, who currently sit on top of the Eastern Conference. Irbis lost their first two games to Chayka Nizhny Novgorod. Later on Artyom Anisimov’s squad fell to Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, who are currently the third best team in the Eastern Conference but played two more games than others.
Kazan’s schedule early in the regular season wasn’t easy and in the subsequent Green Rivalry game it was once again the opposition that was considered the topdog. Tolpar Ufa lost just once in their previous six games as they fell to another Tatarstan team, Sputnik Almetyevsk, 3-0. They also beat Reaktor Nizhnekamsk twice, to whom Irbis had lost both times. The teams’ record was not kind for Kazan.
Tolpar Ufa 4-1-0-0-0-1
Irbis Kazan 0-0-0-0-1-7
Nevertheless, Artyom Anisimov’s team went on to win both back-to-back games of the Green Rivalry. Irbis won their first game in the shootout. Kazan had the lead three times in regulation but Tolpar managed to come back every time. There was no scoring in the extra period of play and in the shootout Said Gimayev scored the deciding attempt. However, the most memorable attempt belongs to 15-year-old Timofey Zhulin. The forward was close to losing control of the puck but he held on to it, made Tolpar goaltender Semyon Vyazovoy buy his move and elegantly scored on the wide-open net.
Irbis enjoyed another win in the following game – this time in regulation. Kazan scored two quick goals and established a 2-0 lead by the fifth minute of the opening period of play. But Tolpar managed to even it up in the second period to turn it into a 2-2 hockey game. The very same Zhulin went on to score the game-winning goal midway through the third frame. The forward will turn 16 only on September 29th. You just have to see his emotions on the ice and the dressing-room after the game!
After these two victories Irbis continue to dwell at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table at 15th place. However, they managed to close the gap to other team and currently find themselves just two wins away from the playoff zone. Tolpar are still among the Top-8 teams of the Eastern Conference sitting at the 6th place. Nevertheless, with these losses Ufa failed to climb on top of the standings.
Irbis Kazan will play their next games on the road against Omskie Yastreby on September 29th and 30th, while Tolpar Ufa will host Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk on September 27th and 28th.