Russia’s youngsters came so close to winning World Junior gold in Ostrava, only to be pegged back by a Canadian fightback in the third period. Russia jumped to a 3-1 lead early in the third but could not hold as Canada avenged its 0-6 loss to Valery Bragin’s team in the group phase. There was plenty of KHL representation on Bragin’s silver medal roster. CSKA defenseman Alexander Romanov was named to the media select roster, Loko’s Grigory Denisenko captained the team and led Russia in scoring with 9 (3+6) points. Ak Bars goalie Amir Miftakhov had the second best GAA in the tournament at 2.12. KHL interest in the tournament was not confined to Russia. Kazakhstan’s roster drew heavily on players from the JHL and VHL. Maxim Musorov, 18, is the only one of that team to have KHL experience, playing 12 times for Barys this season.
While Russia’s prospects were showing their skills in the Czech Republic, the U18 Women’s team was winning bronze in Bratislava. Historically, the 18 World Championship is dominated by Canada and the USA, but this year Russia pushed both North American giants hard in the group stage before dropping one-goal verdicts. A convincing win over Sweden in the bronze medal game secured the team its first hardware since 2017 – and there was recognition for several rising stars of the Women’s Hockey League. Goalie Anna Alpatova of Tornado Dmitrov was named as the best of the tournament while Kristi Shashkina of SKIF Nizhny Novgorod was the leading scorer and tournament MVP with 8 (4+4) points.
2020 is off to a great start in Sochi. Not so much on the ice, admittedly, with the Leopards suffering a 1-7 loss at home to CSKA. But that game also brought a record crowd to a KHL game in the Olympic city. There were 11,786 To see Saturday’s action, close to the 12,000 capacity at the venue built for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Once again, it highlights the ever-growing popularity of the KHL and justifies the work done by the league to capitalize on the legacy of staging the Games in Russia six years ago.
Sergei Mozyakin and statistical landmarks go together like Santa and reindeer, and the Metallurg marksman is on course for another one. The 38-year-old forward moved to 399 goals in the KHL and this week could see him become the first player to pot 400 in the league. Kirill Kaprizov, a potential pretender to his scoring crown, could achieve 100 regular-season goals this week as well; the CSKA man is currently on 99. And Justin Azevedo is closing on 200 assists for Ak Bars and Lev Prague. The Canadian is one pass away from becoming the 20th forward to reach that mark.