About the League
Top goaltender of Parimatch Junior Hockey League Week 2 shared news of his unexpected call-up to KHL with media relations department, SKA-Varyagi forward comment on his debut in major junior hockey, while Russkie Vityazi defenseman told his expectations of the season.
“I played only a handful of games last season, even though I was always with the team,” said JHC Spartak Moscow goaltender Dmitry Kulikov. “It’s just that our coaching staff trusted Andrei Skovronsky more. After all, he was a little older. This season I, obviously, want to win the competition and play as much as I can to help my team gain points.”
- You didn’t allow a single goal in the back-to-back series against JHC Dynamo Moscow.
- I was really focused for those games – the entire 120 minutes. That’s the reason. After those games against Dynamo I was called up to KHL’s Spartak. I went on the road to Almaty, Magnitogorsk and Yekaterinburg. It was an unexpected call-up because I had spent the entire pre-season with the junior team. But Julius Hudacek is currently recovering from an injury so I was called up as the third goaltender. Of course, my junior teammates wished me luck. I talk more often to younger players, whom I got to know last season – Akim Trishin, Zakhar Shablovsky, Alexander Nikishin. I spend a lot of time with Stefan Persson at practices. He’s our goaltending coach. At one practice there were just Julius Hudacek and myself. He’s a very easy-going and talkative guy. Sometimes he would come up to me himself to give advice or just tell a story. I worked very little with Oleg Valerievich Znarok but the mere presence of such a coach was inspiring.
- Before beating Dynamo twice in a row, Spartak suffered a blowout 9-0 loss from SKA-1946 St. Petersburg.
- I watched the game from the stands so I can’t give a definitive answer why it happened. It seemed that Spartak got unlucky a few times and then they just gave up. It was unpleasant to see that. I was thinking what could I do so that the loss wouldn’t affect upcoming games. Everyone was depressed in the dressing-room after the loss but our coaches supported us and asked to put it behind. A lot of really good young players have joined the team. They are skilled and can really shoot the puck. I think they’re going to adjust to JHL after a few games.
“Last week we won 3 games out of 4. We needed some time to get acclimatized in Vladivostok. Perhaps, that’s partly why we lost in the second game to Taifun,” said Russkie Vityazi defenseman Vyacheslav Sarayev. “Right now we’re just getting into the season. I think we can do better. We definitely need to make the playoffs this year. Although, we have faced future champions for two consecutive seasons and can’t make it past the opening round. We would like to finally break the tendency and win a series.
“Last season I scored three goals and now I have improved my productivity. I didn’t change anything in my play. I just was out of luck last season. The puck just wouldn’t go into the net. In any case, team points are more important now than personal.
“I have to throw a dinner party for being selected the week’s top defenseman. It’s a tradition we have to throw dinner parties for such events – like first goal in the league, being selected the top player and just a birthday. Although, we’re still waiting to get pizzas from those guys who scored their first goals (laughs).”
“This is my rookie Junior Hockey League season. It was a little difficult in the first two games. I had to adjust,” said SKA-Varyagi forward Nikita Shuidin. “But then Denis Mikhnin was sent down from SKA-Neva and he was put on our line. He helped me adjust. We’re doing better now that he’s here. For instance, he scored two goals against Loko [Yaroslavl]. So our line plays with more confidence. It’s great to make debut in the league and to be selected as the top forward of the week. Now I have to build on that. I have high expectations from myself in the rookie season. I want to score as many points as I can.”