About the League
Junior Hockey League media relations department continues the series of jubilee season reviews for every team. Almaz Cherepovets enjoyed one of the most vivid seasons in franchise history, especially in terms of commitment and drama. Their fans won’t forget soon the series against Krasnaya Armiya Moscow.
5th place in the Western Conference, 88 points in 64 games, 220 goals for, 124 goals against
Almaz Cherepovets went through another major roster shuffle and yet remained a force to reckoned with, once again making the playoffs. Under Evgeny Stavrovsky’s command the team’s consistency reminds one of Eastern Conference’s Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk. The two are the only teams to make every post-season in Junior Hockey League history. Cherepovets got off to a shaky start with just four wins in eight games but things got better in October. Almaz consistently gained points and went from one winning streak to another, which were broken up with just a few losses here and there. The team went through a bit of a slump in January but it didn’t change much in the big picture and the team once again qualified for playoffs.
With the departure of several players due to age limit, Vladislav Fyodorov put the team on his back as he was first on Cherepovets in goals, assists and points. Fyodorov deserved to be invited to compete for the 2019 JHL Challenge Cup and also made his KHL debut, playing one game for Severstal Cherepovets. Notably, Krasnaya Armiya roster featured former Cherepovets players Leonid Klimov and Airat Zamaliyev, who went up their former team in the opening round of the playoffs. Just like a year ago, Gleb Morulyov led Almaz’s defensemen in scoring, while Dmitry Shugayev and Konstantin Shostak split the season in goal almost equally. Shostak played more often towards the end of the regular season. The 18-year-old netminder got the nod for the playoff games.
Top-scorer: Vladislav Fyodorov – 55 (26 goals, 29 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: Vladislav Fyodorov – 26 goals
Most assists: Vladislav Fyodorov – 29 assists
Top defenseman: Gleb Morulyov – 21 (6 goals, 15 assists) points, plus-18
Starting goaltender: Konstantin Shostak – 39 games, 23 wins, Goals Against Average – 1.83, Save Percentage – 0.936 on average per game
Almaz enjoyed one of the most – if not the most - dramatic series in Junior Hockey League history in the opening round. Krasnaya Armiya won the first two games at Leningradsky Avenue. Konstantin Shostak’s mistake was key in Game 1 as it led to Nikita Dolgopyatov’s goal, which was then followed by Daniil Anop’s marker. Krasnaya Armiya enjoyed a 3-0 win in Game 2 and went on the road determined to complete the sweep.
However, everything turned upside down in Cherepovets. The black-and-yellow scored three goals in Game 3, while the opposition managed to eke out just one. Almaz went on to tie the series in Game 4 as blanked Moscow 4-0. It all boiled down to Game 5, which turned out to be one of the most exciting and dramatic in Kharlamov Cup history. Cherepovets forced overtime as they came back from trailing 4-1 heading into the third period. The visitors finished the job in the extra period of play as German Grachyov converted on Maxim Sorkin’s penalty. Notably, the latter led Krasnaya Armiya in regular season points.
Despite his mistake in Game 1, Konstantin Shostak was great in the series, while Dmitry Shugayev played just one game. Almaz top players Igor Geraskin and German Grachyov were quiet at first but in the end played the biggest roles in the series. Geraskin scored two goals and notched two assists, while Grachyov had three tallies, including the game-winning goal in deciding Game 5. Nikita Kolesnikov racked up five points. Makar Khabarov was the only defenseman who found the back of the net.
In the next round Cherepovets went up against last season’s runners-up SKA-1946 St. Petersburg and was swept in three games. Every bout featured tight contest. That is especially true for the first two games in St. Petersburg, each of which went to the shootout. Cherepovets had to come back from behind in both games and they did just that. Last regulation minutes of Game 2 stood out the most as Nikita Kolesnikov tied it up at 2-2 with just six seconds remaining to play in the third period. Nevertheless, St. Petersburg beat Almaz in both shootouts and then steamrolled over the opposition in Cherepovets 5-0 to clinch the series.
Top-scorer: German Grachyov – 7 (4 goals, 3 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: German Grachyov – 4 goals
Most assists: Nikita Kolesnikov – 5 assists
Top defenseman: Vladimir Sychushkin – 2 (0 goals, 2 assists) points, plus-1
Starting goaltender: Konstantin Shostak – 7 games, 3 wins, Goals Against Average – 2.19, Save Percentage – 0.920 on average per game