14.12.2017 в 16:44


Krasnaya Armiya Moscow and U18 Team Russia defenseman Alexander Romanov plays for his nation for the first time but he already has made a huge contribution to his team’s successful performance at the World Junior A Challenge. We asked Romanov how does it feel to play for Team Russia and whether he considers becoming a forward after scoring three goals in two games.

- Alexander, what are your first impressions after getting called up to U18 Team Russia? Who congratulated you first?
- This is my first tournament with Team Russia. When I got the invitation, I was very surprised because I think I played pretty much the same. But, obviously, I was very happy. My family and relatives congratulated me first. Krasnaya Armiya teammates were also happy for me. But we have for guys from Krasnaya Armiya here – it’s a pretty strong representation (smiles).

- What did you expect from that trip to North America?
- Everybody I asked to a man told me that hockey was going to be very fast-paced, that Canadians play physical, you can’t relax even for a second, even after you passed the puck. I was ready for that right from the beginning. Actually, I was surprised by how Canadians are involved in hockey. You can feel it when you get to the arena. There’s always a lot of fans, even at our game against Team Switzerland there were lots. Off ice everything is great, too. Although, Canadians should learn how to peel potatoes, they always cook it with skin (laughs).

- Who cheers for you at home?
- My parents, all relatives and even some friends from school and university. They support me and cheer for me. It’s nice.

- You know a few guys from Krasnaya Armiya but who else did you manage to get close with on the team?
- I know some guys not just from Krasnaya Armiya. There are a few guys with whom we played back in junior hockey school. We’ve got a great group of guys here. I felt welcome very quickly.

- You played against Team Canada East and Team Switzerland. What is the difference between North Americans and Europeans?
- Basically, they played a similar style but I seemed to me that the Swiss were more active in the offensive end, while they give up more room in the defensive zone comparing to Canadians. That’s the biggest difference. The game against Team Switzerland was more difficult but we were a little tired mentally and physically after the game against Team Canada.

- You scored three goals in two games. Do you plan on switching to playing forward?
- Of course, not (laughs). I scored the goal in the second game after a mistake made by our opponent. They had to win the game but it was too risky to pull goaltender when the score was tied at 2-2. Especially, since it was a pretty equal game. Their defenseman made a huge mistake, making a pass to offside. So their forwards couldn’t pounce on me, because than there’d be a whistle. Our coach told us not to dump it into their zone but I thought – what the heck, the goal is empty, I should go for it.

- How do you like working with the coaching staff led by Alexander Zybin?
- The demands are high because it’s a national team after all. You can’t dog it on the ice and you have to give everything you got in every moment. I like working with Alexander Viktorovich very much. I try to do everything he asks from me and the team as well.

- This summer you made your debut for Krasnaya Armiya at Junior Club World Cup in Sverdlovsk Region. What are your memories from the tournament?
- The games against European teams, even though I didn’t play much because I’d just joined Krasnaya Armiya from Krylia Sovetov. I remember that hockey was faster and more aggressive.

- How difficult was it to adjust to Krasnaya Armiya after you joined them from Krylia Sovetov?
- It wasn’t all that difficult to adjust to the team itself. But proving yourself to the coaching staff is a whole different story. You have to prove that you are worthy to get a lot of ice-time, play on the starting line-up and able to consistently help your team get points. That was the most difficult thing.

In the semifinal game of World Junior A Challenge, which is being held in Truro, Nova Scotia, U18 team Russia will face Team USA. The game will take place on December 14th at 10-30pm Moscow time.