The forward of Mikhailov Academy talked about his great goal production.
On April 29, the 2021/2022 JHL award-winners will be announced. The best players will get their prizes at the Closing Ceremony, but some awardees are already known. Gleb Petrov became the top goalscorer of the regular season. He scored 42 goals in 55 games. Petrov started producing goals from the very beginning of the season - 18 goals scored in 17 games. Then the forward continued scoring for Mikhailov Academy and became the goals leader of the league.
The forward of the Tula team overtook the closest pursuer Dmitry Buchelnikov by one goal. Petrov finished his final JHL season. Over the four seasons in the league, Gleb played for Almaz, Chaika and Mikhailov Academy, he appeared in 175 games in total and scored 148 (84 + 64) points.
In an interview, the forward talked about his final JHL season, the chemistry with his linemates - Vadim Sivchuk and Kirill Pukelo, and shared his future plans.
– How can you evaluate the 2021/2022 season?
– It was very productive: I improved my stats significantly. I challenged myself to score 50 goals, but I was hampered by injury at the end of the season. It was a very good season for me, I'm only disappointed about the playoffs - Mikhailov Academy narrowly failed to clinch a playoff spot. In comparison with the previous year, when the team sat in the bottom of the standings, we performed better this year and pushed for a playoff berth. It's good for the club and for the fans, so there has been some improvement.
– Why didn’t your team manage to clinch a playoff spot?
– The first game against any team was played toe-to-toe, but when it came to the second game, it was like a switch flipped, things were not working as expected. I don't know why this happened. Maybe there was proper motivation only for the first game, and it affected the whole season.
– You became the top goalscorer of the regular season. What is the formula for your success?
– My linemates, plain and simple: they were putting the puck on a plate, all I had to do was to score the tries. Almost all my goals were scored from the same spot, my partners sent nice passes and I hit the open net. I always focused on shooting when preparing for a season, but this year was fruitful like never before.
– You started producing points from the very beginning of the season. How did you manage to stay on course?
– During the preseason, the coaching staff put me on the line with Vadim Sivchuk and Kirill Pukelo. We played together almost all season, we had great chemistry. Plus, experience: we were the leaders of the team and we were able to decide the outcome of the game. It both motivated and added pressure, so we needed to do our utmost.
– Did you follow other contenders for the title of JHL top goalscorer?
– I did, but I wasn’t very passionate about it. When someone else was leading, I didn’t start thinking that I needed to score as soon as possible and retake the lead - when you are desperate to reach something, nothing is working out. You need to let go of things, take it easy. But thar rivalry gave extra motivation.
– How does it feel to be the JHL top goalscorer?
– It feels good, it’s been the best season of my career. But you need to enjoy it for a little while, then move one and continue working. You shouldn't dwell on it, although emotions are still there.
– How did you prepare for games?
– The most important thing is to take everything coolly. Tested on myself a few times: when you overthink, nothing is working out. Sometimes it's better not to think about the game at all, it makes things easier. We all stayed together, we talked, but before games we avoided talking about hockey, we discussed other topics - it helped to take our minds off games and get our heads together.
– What was the most memorable game of the season?
– Two games stand out in my mind, emotions ran high. We played against Russkie Vityazi and Amurskie Tigry, in both games we tied it with just one second to go in the third period. It was an overtime win over Russkie Vityazi, and a shootout win over Amurskie Tigry. It felt great.
– What was the most memorable goal?
– They all are pretty much similar (laughs). An unusual goal was scored during the game against JHC Dynamo SPb – I took a no-angle shot from the end line and hit a top corner. I didn’t even understand how it happened.
–You played six SHL games this season. How was it?
– Coaches trusted me, I had enough ice time, but splaying ix games is still not much. Getting adjusted was not easy because of long pauses - I played two games in October, then one game in November, one game in December, and two more in January. Hockey is a little different in SHL – it is tougher, faster. I couldn’t keep up with the speed during first games. But the good thing was that the coaching staff trusted me, and I managed to score a goal.
– Did it feel different?
– Yes, it was my first goal at the senior level. It was an indescribable feeling, as if I didn’t just score, but won some cup. It's great when you try something new and succeed.
My teammates would joke before games: “Are you gonna score two-three goals again?”
– Who supported you this season?
– I have a big family, they all followed my progress. I talked to my father almost every day: he called me after games, we discussed my performance, areas for improvement. As a rule, my dad criticizes me, but I see it as a good thing - I won't be getting too big for my britches. My teammates also supported me. There was nothing special, but they would joke before games: “Are you gonna score two-three goals again?” My answer was: “I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.” Other than that, everything was in a calm working mode.
– What kind of forwards do you like?
– I don’t have any idols, but I like players of the similar style – Artemi Panarin, Nathan McKinnon and Alexander Ovechkin. I follow their performance to notice something that I can use too. For example, Panarin is great at creating passes for his teammates, he reads and feels the game well. Ovechkin is known for his one-timers - I watch how he plays, where he is positioned, how he shoots. It is very interesting, and then I try to implement it in my game. And McKinnon is an excellent skater.
– The 2021/2022 season was your final year in JHL. Can you sum it up?
– I have only positive emotions. Four years in the junior league is a great experience, I got the understanding of game. But it’s time to take the next step. I don’t make any plans for the future yet: I am training these days, then I will go on vacation to my home city Cherepovets. I want to spend time with my family, I am only able to go home once or twice a year. Maybe we'll go somewhere with friends too. I will have about 15-20 days off in May, and then I will start training and thinking about the future.