Top players of the 23rd Junior Hockey League regular season week speak out. SKA-1946 netminder is waiting to meet Loko in the playoffs, Russkie Vityazi defenseman explains his puckmoving skills, while Altay forward shares his thoughts on his first career 4-goal performance.
“Last week our head-coach Alexander Alexandrovich Savchenkov was called up to Team Russia, so we worked with Pyotr Iliych Vorobyov,” says SKA-1946 St. Petersburg goaltender Nikita Lysenkov. “He gave us advice during the games and told us how to get ready for them. Maxim Anatolyevich Sokolov worked with goaltenders as usual.
“I can’t wait for the playoffs. The most exciting part of the season is coming soon. I would like to repeat the series against Loko [Yaroslavl] again this year. Last season’s finals turned out to be really interesting. I wonder how we would do against the ‘railway men’ now. As for the standings, SKA have three goals for the season – finish on top of the league, conference and the playoffs. That is why it’s important for us to finish the regular season on top of the standings.”
“I picked up three assists last week,” shares Russkie Vityazi defenseman Georgy Dedov. “You could say that I’m more of a playmaker. I have more assists than goals and I do it on purpose. I need to stand out and be creative, so I join offensive rushes and make plays. Back in hockey school I was a forward and that skillset comes in handy now.
“Even though, we haven’t clinched the playoffs yet, I have a good feeling about it. We want to win the Kharlamov Cup, not just make the playoffs. Last year we were eliminated in the first round. We intend to go deeper into the post-season this year.
“We have just had a short break because of national teams’ games. We just practiced as usual. This is the second break in 2019 but we shouldn’t lose our game rhythm because of that. Everyone on our team is a professional and we are ready for anything.”
“That 4-game performance in the game against Sarmaty [Orenburg] was my first in Junior Hockey League,” points out Altay forward Nikolai Maiorov. “Our entire team was happy that we managed to come back from behind and win it in the shootout. My teammates congratulated and thanked me. I was a great feeling for me as well. After all, it’s difficult to play without any tournament motivation, you have to force yourself into the right mood.
“Even Mamonty Yugry players, with whom I played last year, congratulated me on scoring the four goals. We keep in touch. When they came to Ust-Kamenogorsk, I went to visit them at the hotel. They asked me how was I doing in Kazakhstan. When I face Mamonty Yugry, I feel like I went back to my junior hockey school team’s practice. It’s almost as if I’m watching my team practice from the stands and I’ll play with them the day after.”