About the League
Junior Hockey League media relations department continues the series of jubilee season reviews for every team. Last season’s runners-up SKA-1946 St. Petersburg couldn’t get to the final this year but won their first bronze medals in franchise history along with Mamonty Yugry.
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg
1st place in the Western Conference, 105 points in 64 games. 230 goals for, 112 goals against
St. Petersburg ‘army men’ finished on top of the Western Conference after regular season for the second time in franchise history. Last season SKA-1946 steamrolled over every opponent in the playoffs, but in the final series Mikhail Milyokhin’s men faced Loko Yaroslavl. ‘Railway men’ won the series in six games. Notably, Milyokhin now coaches SKA-Varyagi, who went up against the 46’s in the opening round. Having lost their second final series (St. Petersburg had been defeated by Chayka Nizhny Novgorod in 2015), the team didn’t lose their ambitions and proved right away they should be considered as the cup favorites. ‘Army men’ were losing points on rare occasions and were blanked just 4 times in 64 games by the opposition. SKA-1946 enjoyed several long winning streaks. In September they posted eight consecutive wins, while in January the number went up to 12. The 46’s had a great chance to flex their muscles right before the playoffs, beating Kunlun Red Star Heilongjiang 8-0 and 9-2.
As many as six netminders played for SKA-1946 this season. On most nights it was last season’s top goaltender Nikita Lysenkov who was getting the nod, who ended up winning the 2019 JHL Challenge Cup. He was joined on Team West by 2019 World Juniors bronze medalists Ivan Morozov and Kirill Marchenko, who also played for SKA-Varyagi this year. Daniil Barinov led all SKA-1946 defensemen in points as he proved to be a great playmaker. As per tradition, St. Petersburg had one of the best offensive lines in the league. Alexei Ozhgikhin and Dmitry Ovechkin grew up to be true leaders. The latter also made his VHL debut with SKA-Neva.
Top-scorer: Alexei Ozhgikhin – 51 (26 goals, 25 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: Alexei Ozhgikhin – 26 goals
Most assists: Alexei Ozhgikhin – 25 assists
Top defenseman: Daniil Barinov – 24 (4 goals, 20 assists) points, plus-24
Starting goaltender: Nikita Lysenkov – 47 games, 33 wins, Goals Against Average – 1.77, Save Percentage – 0.931 per game
In the first round of the playoffs SKA-1946 faced SKA-Varyagi – another team of SKA St. Petersburg system. The 46’s won the Western Conference Cup, which was awarded to the club by Junior Hockey League managing director Alexei Morozov. However, none of the players opted to touch the trophy. Despite the fact, Alexander Savchenkov’s men looked a shadow of themselves in Game 1 as they were down 3-0 heading into the third period. ‘Army men’ had to work hard to win the following three games to make it to the next round.
Series against Almaz Cherepovets turned out to be no walk in the park either. Afrer a miraculous comeback in the series against Krasnaya Armiya Moscow, Cherepovets were on top of their game and ready to give St. Petersburg a run for their money. However, this time around Almaz lost three consecutive games, despite battling hard in each of them. That is especially true for the first two bouts in St. Petersubrg, both of which went to the shootout. Cherepovets had to come back from behind in every game to force overtime. Game 2’s final minutes were absolutely wild as Nikita Kolesnikov tied the game 2-2 with just six second remaining to play in regulation. Nevertheless, St. Petersburg won both shootouts and then steamrolled over Almaz in Cherepovets 5-0 to clinch the series.
The 46’s final got eliminated only in the semifinals as they couldn’t cope with Avto Yekaterinburg. ‘Army men’ got heavy reinforcements from VHL and seemed the main Kharlamov Cup contenders. That didn’t faze Yekaterinburg one bit even after they lost Game 1. The visitors were down 3-0 midway through the opening period of play and went on to get two goals back, yet failing to force overtime.
Home team opened up the scoring in Game 2 as well, but that’s when future hero Maxim Rasseikin got down to business. He scored two goals to help Avto win the game and snag the home ice advantage from St. Petersburg. Game 3, which was held in Yekaterinburg, was key in the series. SKA-1946 dressed as many as six SKA-Neva players for the bout. Namely, Artyom Nikolayev, Vladislav Tsitsyura, Pavel Kukshtel and Danila Galenyuk. Yekaterinburg came back from behind, sent the game to overtime, in which Rasseikin converted on a powerplay to put SKA-1946 up against the wall.
Nothing could stop ‘army men’ in Game 4 as they won it 6-1 to ensure deciding Game 5 in St. Petersburg. The 46’s once again scored first – Pavel Kukshtel found the back of the net. Vitaly Solovyov’s men found the equalizer in one of their rare counter-attacks – Alexei Melnichuk couldn’t stop Pavel Voronkov who sent it in from the slot. Maxim Rasseikin scored the series-clinching goal.
Top-scorer: Ivan Morozov – 12 (3 goals, 9 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: Kirill Marchenko – 4 goals
Most assists: Ivan Morozov – 12 assists
Top defenseman: Oleg Kholodenin – 5 (3 goals, 2 assists) points, minus-6
Starting goaltender: Nikita Lysenkov – 10 games, 5 wins, Goals Against Average – 1.94, Save Percentage – 0.926 on average per game