About the League
9th annual Sirius Junior Club World Cup got off to a tremendous start at Shayba Arena in Sochi, Russia. The fans witnessed a colorful opening ceremony and a historic matchup between Russia and Canada. Loko Yaroslavl, reigning Kharlamov Cup and Junior Club World Cup champions, faced Team AJHL. Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin participated in the ceremony along with International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel.
Russia vs. Canada rivalry is always a great headline to draw the fans, and they came in scores to Shayba Arena this Friday night. Most of them supported Loko, although AJHL Selects also had a small island of support as several players’ parents came to the tournament and definitely made a lot of noise.
The game was prefaced by a beautiful show, which featured captains of all eight participating teams from different countries, and talented Sirius educational center students.
Ceremony illustrated the motto of Sirius – Discover, Create, Win. Science, art and sport divided the show into three parts as they arena was coated in three major colors of the tournament – white, purple and orange.
Science was represented by light and sound effects. Laser fueled mathematical formulae merged into Junior Club World Cup logo. Art was displayed by Sirius students. Painting, dancing and music were united in single performance.
Music and choreography composition, a variation of Drazhe Fairies by Chaykovsky, was carried out by young ballet dancers – students of Moscow State Academy of Choreography Yelizaveta Gaponenko and Polina Gasimov, along with students of Krasnoyarsk Choreography College Yulia Lyakhovykh and Anastasia Krasotina. The performance was directed by Natalia Permyakova – Sirius choreography professor, candidate of pedagogical sciences and head of classical dance at Boris Eifman Academy.
A fragment of David Mancini’s Latin Voyage was performed by percussionist-drummer Andrei Taranukha – a laureate of First All-Russian Contest For Young Musicians Constellation, which was held at Sirius in July.
Team captains stepped onto the ice in club jerseys, bearing flags of their respective countries. Every team had a section in the stands dedicated to them, as the fans were waving miniature flags of every country. The show culminated with a presentation of opening game participants.
After the opening ceremony, special guests Vladmir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, and Rene Fasel, president of IIHF, took the floor.
“Welcome to all participants and fans of the tournament. Today we open the 9th Junior Club World Cup in Sochi. We welcome all our guests and thank them for coming to Russia,” said Putin. “Hockey has always been a matter of great interest in Russia. Our great coach Anatoly Tarasov spoke about hockey as a sport of honor, agility, speed and intellect. I’m certain that today and in the following days these young athletes will demonstrate their top skills, play great hockey and please the fans. I congratulate you with the start of the tournament and wish you luck!”.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor for me to return to Olympic Sochi. I want to thank Junior Hockey League for organizing the tournament. I wish luck to all participants and guests,” said Rene Fasel.
Kontinental Hockey League president Dmitry Chernyshenko proclaimed the tournament officially open. A few moments later Vladimir Putin and Rene Fasel proceeded to participate in ceremonial puckdrop.
Top referee of Junior Hockey League in the 2018-19 season Roman Kolotunov officiated the game along with Michael Tscherrig from Switzerland.
Matthew Davis was the starting goaltender for Team AJHL, while Vladislav Okoryak got the nod for Yaroslavl.
Russian team struggled early in the game. One of AJHL’s top players Carter Savoie beat Okoryak from in tight to gave his team an early lead. The visitors also converted on their initial powerplay opportunity of the night as Jeremy Gervais beat Okoryak 5-hole, rendering Kirill Slepets free to leave the penalty box. ‘Railway men’ had a great chance to get a goal back as they had a 2-man advantage but Davis and his defensemen stood their ground. Canadian team kept the pressure on and almost improved their lead to 3-0 on Alexander Daryin’s penalty. Loko could get on the board as well late in the period but Slepets failed to beat Davis from excellent position.
Second stanza began with captain Ryan Conroy getting a penalty for kneeing Slepets. Vladislav Rybakov hit the crossbar late into the ensuing powerplay. The play had to be reviewed but as the puck never crossed the line, Team AJHL still had a 2-0 lead. Both teams created several good scoring chances as the game picked up the pace. With AJHL Selects getting another penalty, Loko spent almost the entire two minutes in the offensive zone and yet still couldn’t get anything past Davis.
After that the play switched to Okoryak’s zone and Russian netminder had to make a few huge saves for his team. Nikita Anokhovsky’s line created a few decent chances but Davis refused to let anything in. One of the best examples of Davis’ heroics came on Gleb Shteiger’s shot, which Canadian netminder gloved as if it was nothing to brag about. After Jordan Biro got another penalty, Yaroslavl once again set camp in the offensive zone and this time around they got what they were looking for. Yegor Manin and Alexander Daryin set up Maxim Denezhkin for a ripper and the latter made it 2-1 hockey game after 40.
Early in the third period Loko got yet another powerplay opportunity, which led to Yaroslavl tying the game up. Kirill Slepets fired one home from the right face-off circle, leaving no chance to Davis. Yaroslavl grabbed the momentum and Team AJHL rarely had the puck in the offensive territory. Josh Kroon sent the puck over the glass in one episode, paving the road for several more scoring chances for Loko. Home team failed to convert on the powerplay, but at the very least Okoryak had almost nothing to do over the stretch.
The teams traded offensive rushes in the second part of the period, with Davis getting the bigger workload. AJHL had a chance to get back in the lead as Anton Lukichyov got a late penalty, which combed Loko’s offense. However, the visitors failed to get anything past Okoryak. Key moment of the game came late in the stanza when AJHL Selects were caught with too many men on the ice. A long passing play led to a shot by a mighty defenseman Ilya Mironov, who beat Davis for the game-winning goal. Loko erase a 2-goal deficit and win 3-2 in Junior Club World Cup opener.
2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup
August 23rd. Sochi, Russia. Shayba Arena
Round robin. Group А
Loko (Russia) – Team AJHL (Canada) – 3-2 (0-2, 1-0, 2-0)
0-1 – Savoie (Biro) – 02-57
0-2 – Gervais (Biro, Savoie) – 04-33 PPG
1-2 – Denezhkin (Manin, Daryin) – 39-54
2-2 – Slepets (Lukichyov, Daryin) – 42-56 PPG
3-2 – Mironov (Daryin) – 58-46
Goaltenders: Okoryak - Davis