December 8th action featured four regular season games in Junior Hockey League and all of them were rather intense. While Tyumensky Legion and Almaz Cherepovets failed to get back even, JHC Dynamo turned everything upside down in Moscow rivalry and edged Krasnaya Armiya. Meanwhile, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk got a narrow win over Sputnik Almetyevsk.
JHC Dynamo Moscow wrapped up their trip to Russia’s Far East and they got off to bad start in the game against their rivals Krasnaya Armiya. The red-and-blue took almost five times as many shots as the opposition (19 versus 4) and by midway through the second frame established a comfortable 2-goal lead. Notably, ‘army men’ were missing several players who were called up to U18 Team Russia, including goaltender Vsevolod Skotnikov. Top JHL netminder of last week Konstantin Kozhanov also didn’t start in this one as head-coach Albert Leschyov gave the nod to Artyom Korepanov, who spent the most part of the season with Zvezda of VHL.
It took home team just 100 seconds to turn things around – Dynamo had two counter-attacks over the stretch and tied the game up. With two minutes remaining to play in the period Yegor Smirnov put the blue-and-white in the lead. He could have scored his second of the game in the very next shift but the officials waved it off after a long video review, having determined that the puck hit the bar and went back into play.
Nothing changed on the scoreboard in the third stanza and Dynamo went on to win their first home game in December.
Even though the teams combined for over 30 shots in the game, there weren’t a lot of scoring chances. Neither of the neighbors in the standings wanted to risk it. Besides, home team had some trouble with their offensive potential – forwards Timur Sharifyanov and Bulat Shafigullin went on the road with KHL’s Neftekhimik, while Maxim Groshev was called up to U18 Team Russia.
The visitors opened up the scoring. Shortly after the first intermission Bogdan Korotkov sniped one past Yaroslav Ozolin. The joy of scoring the goal was followed by some bad news – Reaktor picked up the pace and netminder Adel Minegaliev got banged up in one episode. Almetyevsk delegated their trainer to the ice but Minegaliev was able to continue to play. Sputnik goaltender got hurt on yet another play in the third period – this time he collided with Reaktor forward.
Perhaps, these episodes shook up Minegaliev as a few minutes later Vladislav Shutov and then Dinar Khairulov scored on him. The latter enjoyed his first career Junior Hockey League goal and it proved to be the game-winner. With this win Nizhnekamsk are now a stone’s throw away from Almetyevsk, who are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Almaz Cherepovets came into the game as the favorite since they enjoyed a good stretch in November and got really close to the Top-3 teams in the Western Conference, while JHC Spartak Moscow are dangerously close to 9th spot.
Nevertheless, Spartak had the momentum on their side throughout the game and constantly created scoring chances. Top JHL goaltender of November Dmitry Shugayev got replaced by Konstantin Shostak for the game and the latter made 25 saves, including a couple on breakaways. The red-and-white also banged a few off the posts but finally got what they deserved – Ivan Klepko opened up the scoring early in the game and then Andrei Legalin secured the win midway through the third period.
Cherepovets had a few chances to get back into the game and even outshot Spartak but Andrei Skovronsky stopped all 30 shots he had to face for yet another shutout win in Junior Hockey League.
Looks like two consecutive wins over Tolpar Ufa took up a lot of energy from Tyumensky Legion as they couldn’t beat another top team of the Eastern Conference. There weren’t a lot of scoring chances in the game. Avto Yekaterinburg took 37 shots but beat Nikolai Dryomin just once. Ilya Zakharov sniped one early in the second frame and that goal proved to be the game-winner. Yekaterinburg netminder Vladimir Galkin stopped 30 shots and got his 6th shutout of the year.
With this win Avto bounce back from two unfortunate losses to Mamonty Yugry, while Tyumensky Legion, despite the loss, stay in the playoff zone as they are currently 7th. The ‘Legion’ will have a chance for revenge on December 9th.