08.03.2018 в 12:52

Junior Hockey League media relations department continues its series on the teams, who missed the playoffs in the 2017-18 season. In today’s edition we’re going to take a look at the Western Conference.

HC Kapitan (Stupino)

17th place in the West. 32 points in 64 games. 138 goals for, 240 goals against.

Stupino’s management, who have returned to JHL, didn’t have any illusions regarding their team’s success this season. The emphasis was put on developing young players but it wouldn’t be fair to call Kapitan’s performance a total failure. Certainly, Stupino lost most of their games and their slumps lasted weeks at times, but the team still had their fair share of truly exciting games and presented the world with a few talented players. Defenseman Dmitry Semykin and forward Amir Garayev were called up to play for U18 Team Russia, while Stepan Starkov even played 17 games for HC Sochi in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Players To Watch

Garayev, along with Alexei Zhilin, Yegor Postnov and Vladimir Kapkin, were Kapitan’s main offensive force in the regular season. Ivan Ulogov led all defensemen in points and won JHL Challenge Cup. Stupino’s top players are all 17 and 18 years old and many of them were in their rookie Junior Hockey League season, which is exactly why they’re going to be fun to follow next year. Kapitan head-coach Dmitry Gogolev doesn’t doubt that.


HC Riga (Riga)

16th place in the West. 52 points in 64 games. 98 goals for, 206 goals against.

Dinamo Riga has been in the slump for a while and their junior team struggled as well, even though Ronalds Ozolins’ men began the season with three consecutive wins and as result sat in the top half of the standings. However, late September and October proved to be catastrophic for HC Riga. A 13-game losing streak certainly didn’t do anything good for the optimism. Latvian team struggled to get points but there were a few bright days for them. As such, Riga put an end to Loko Yaroslavl’s 16-game winning streak (Loko won Western Conference championship title this year) and beat Krylia Sovetov Moscow in an exciting game.

Players To Watch

Kirils Galoha, who was Riga’s top player for many years, was succeeded this year by Arturs Homjakovs. He led the team in scoring with 16 goals, 23 assists and 39 points. Defenseman Kristaps Zile is a regular on Dinamo Riga’s top defensive pairing and played just nine games in Junior Hockey League this season. As per usual, he made it count as he racked up eight points over the stretch. Riga’s junior team traditionally has developed a lot of players for all ages of Team Latvia. This year Aleksandrs Smirnovs, Pauls Svars, Daniels Berzins and Julians Misjus made their debut for Dinamo Riga. Emils Gegeris scored his first two career KHL goals in a game against Spartak Moscow and was promoted to Dinamo’s top line in the following game against Jokerit.

Amurskie Tigry (Khabarovsk)

15th place in the West. 54 points in 64 games. 158 goals for, 246 goals against.

Khabarovsk missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year and somehow reminded Kuznetskie Medvedi from the East. Having some talented young players in their line-up, they played well offensively and scored a lot of goals, but often gave up the lead and allowed way too many goals. Amurskie Tigry stayed in the playoff race for a long time but they won just two games in January, sank too deep in the standings and never recovered from that. Late in the season the team from Russia’s Far East put a few regulation ties on a string – ‘the Tigers’ finished seven of their last ten games either in overtime or shootout.

Players To Watch

After several Amurskie Tigry top players left for other teams, Matvey Zaseda and German Voloshin became Khabarovsk leaders up front. The latter not only won JHL Challenge Cup, he was also named one of the top players of the game and as such was invited to KHL All-Star Game, where he played on the same team with Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikita Gusev and Eeli Tolvanen. Denis Nedilko led Amurskie Tigry defensemen in points as he scored 28 in 61 games. As many as three goaltenders split the games almost equally for Amurskie Tigry – Evgeny Kiselyov, Mikhail Boyarchuk and Danil Timchenko, while 18-year-old netminder Vladislav Yurchenko squeezed in 10.


Taifun (Primorie Region)

14th place in the West. 62 points in 64 games. 157 goals for, 250 goals against.

Comparing to their debut season, in which Taifun finished 12th, this year the team dropped two lines down in the standings but still proved to be a nuisance to several leaders of the league. Taifun enjoyed a great start of the season as they got three consecutive wins against rival teams from Russia’s Far East. However, after that Primorie Region team struggled to gain points. The fans will remember an exciting shootout against Spartak in October, an overtime win in a hard-fought game against Loko Yaroslavl and three consecutive wins against HC Riga. Igor Alexandrov’s men almost never lost by a blowout. Should Taifun keep their team spirit, which allowed them to battle equally against Western Conference top teams, they can very well hope to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history next year.

Players To Watch

Former Tolpar Ufa netminder Vladislav Bulygin got the starter’s job on Taifun. Yan Sinkevich, who joined Ussuriysk from Tyumen, played almost twice fewer games. Alkhas Kochkaryov played his second season for Taifun and led all defensemen with 21 points in 42 games. Artyom Alexandrov, who used to play for Atlanty Moscow Region, was a great addition to the team, leading it in points (48) and winning JHL Challenge Cup. Roman Timofeyev ended up just four points behind him, while 18-year-old Sergei Goncharuk was second on Taifun in goals.


Kunlun Red Star Junior (Beijing)

13th place in the West. 70 points in 64 games. 166 goals for, 238 goals against.

Kunlun Red Star Junior’s inaugural season had a little bit of everything. Head-coach Alexander Barkov had a difficult task of putting together a competitive team from the most cosmopolitan group of players in Junior Hockey League history. Kunlun roster featured players from Russia, Finland, Belarus, Canada, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, USA and, of course, China. Despite the fact, ‘the Dragons’ played their home games at Volvo Centre Sporta in Riga, Latvia, Kunlun was never an easy opponent to beat for the visiting teams and even pulled off several upsets. For example, reigning Kharlamov Cup champions Krasnaya Armiya Moscow lost to Kunlun in November, while the mighty Almaz Cherepovets had also been beaten in Riga. It’s going to be very interesting to see how different this Chinese team is going to be next season and what can it aspire to in the future.

Players To Watch

Former Amurskie Tigry forward Pavel Krutiy was the top player of Kunlun Red Star Junior this season. He was on top of the league in scoring for a long time and won JHL Challenge Cup. Another former Khabarovsk player Vladimir Zababurin finished with just a few points less than Krutiy. He enjoyed 48 assists, which was good enough to top Junior Hockey League in that regard. Vladislav Martynyuk led Red Star defensemen in points. Estonian born Conrad Möllder was the team’s starting goaltender. 18-year-old Qianyi Huang led all Chinese players with six goals and 15 assists for 21 points.


Atlanty (Moscow Region)

12th place in the West. 70 points in 64 games. 123 goals for, 172 goals against.

Once again Atlanty found themselves very distant from the playoff zone, but at least this year they weren’t 40 points away from the 8th place in the conference as they were in the previous season. Moscow Region team can be happy about stealing points from their direct competition and a few wins over top JHL teams. They didn’t look so great in their road trip to Russia’s Far East, but on home ice Vladimir Potapov’s men beat Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk and Taifun Primorie Region twice. That was Atlanty’s longest winning streak of the regular season.

Players To Watch

Defenseman Dmitry Kolegov adjusted well to Western Conference hockey and was only of the most productive players among Atlanty defensemen. Another trade between Atlanty and JHC Spartak Moscow provided Ivan Klepko with more ice-time, Yaroslavl native Denis Morozov was consistently getting points, while Alexander Poluektov, who joined the team mid-season from Krylia Sovetov Moscow, provided some grit in the slot. However, true leaders of Atlanty were 17-year-old Dmitry Silantyev, who led the team in points, and Pavel Pravilo, who was in his 5th Junior Hockey League season. Pravilo also represented Atlanty Moscow Region at JHL Challenge Cup and won the coveted trophy.

SKA-Serebryanye Lvy (St. Petersburg)

11th place in the West. 80 points in 64 games. 160 goals for, 172 goals against.

‘The Predators’ missed the post-season again but they remained right in the thick of the playoff race till the very end. It all boiled down to their last home series, in which SKA-Serebryanye Lvy lost three games out of four. After losing two more games to JHC Spartak Moscow, St. Petersburg had to bid their farewell to their playoff hopes. Last season’s top players Andrei Altybarmakyan and Alexei Polodyan were rare sights in Junior Hockey League and when they appear, they played for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. The team enjoyed its most successive run in late October and early November as they put together six consecutive wins. Things looked grim for St. Petersburg early on Their fans had to wait for the first win of the season till late September – SKA-Serebryanye Lvy edged Atlanty by a narrow score only in their 12th game of the year.


Players To Watch

In Altybarmakyan and Polodyan’s absence, Sergei Yarovoy’s side couldn’t find leaders of the same caliber. They did, however, have their heroes. Sergei Tyuneyev, who joined SKA-Serebryanye Lvy from JHC Dinamo St. Petersburg, got 40 points in 50 games and topped the team in scoring. Defenseman Kirill Zubkovsky represented SKA-Serebryanye Lvy at JHL Challenge Cup, while Roman Krivosheyev led all defensemen in points. Goaltenders Dmitry Nikolayev and Alexei Ivanov split the season equally.


Chayka (Nizhny Novgorod)

10th place in the West. 86 points in 64 games. 150 goals for, 174 goals against.

Ever since Nizhny Novgorod won Kharlamov Cup, their results have gone downhill. In the post championship season Vyacheslav Ryanov’s men made the finals again but lost it. Last year they were eliminated in the Round of 16, and now they ended up on the wrong side of the playoff zone. It’s time for a reboot, although it has to be noted that Chayka could have made the playoffs, had they not lost four of their last games. Nihzny Novgorod faced JHC Dinamo St. Petersburg and SKA-1946 St. Petersburg – both were serious opponents, but lacked motivation as they had longed secured their playoff spots.


Players To Watch

Vladislav Shamanin led Nizhny Novgorod defensemen with 20 points. He was the one who represented Chayka at JHL Challenge Cup and got to hoist the trophy. Akim Kolomarov stood out on offense and ended up leading the team in scoring, while Kirill Klopov cashed in 19 goals. Anatoly Inozemtsev split the time in goal with Kirill Kozhokar, who was named rookie of the week in November.


JHC Dynamo (Moscow)

9th place in the West. 87 points in 64 games. 160 goals for, 186 goals against.

Last season HC MVD head-coach Sergei Petrenko noted that the team would certainly make a huge step forward. That turned out to be true, but after the team was renamed, that progress wasn’t enough to make the playoffs, even though Dynamo finished a stone’s throw away from it. Just as for their KHL team, post-season proved to be an unreachable dream for the junior team. The blue-and-white got off to a great start – they won five consecutive games, including two on home ice against Loko Yaroslavl. They hit the slump in October when Dynamo lost seven games in a row. That was the lowest they got all season and they spent most of the year balancing at the brink of the playoff zone. Dynamo failed to beat the very same Yaroslavl in key games and finished 9th in the Western Conference.


Players To Watch

Semyon Pankratov got 47 points in 64 games and led the team in points. Maxim Chuvilov could have competed with Pankratov but unfortunately he got injured. Ivan Muranov scored 31 points and won JHL Challenge Cup. Denis Tolpegin led Dynamo defensemen with 23 points. Goaltenders Dimitry Rayko and Georgy Kuznetsov split the season equally.