Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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The eighth week of KHL’s regular season has concluded and now it’s time to look at who were the best performing U23 players. This edition features two forwards from SKA, a forward from Avangard Omsk as well as a forward from Dinamo Minsk. The lone goalie representative this time around comes from the Severstal team.

Ivan Morozov

F, SKA St. Petersburg 
Week 8: 3G, 3 (2+1) points 
Season: 8G, 4 (3+1) points

Ivan Morozov and his SKA St. Petersburg team had a stellar week having played three games and holding a perfect record — three victories in that span. The youngster earned points in two of these games. The first game of the week against Kunlun Red Star was a double-point showing for him as a goal was scored and an assist earned. His maiden point this week came from Nikita Gusev’s goal that gave his team a 3:0 lead — Morozov simply won the face-off in the offensive zone and sent it to Gusev who scored his first since returning home from North America. Later on, Gusev returned the favor and Morozov got a goal of his own — a zone entry which led to a simple yet beautiful goal with the puck going into the far side of the net. The third goal of the week came in the team’s final game of the week where they faced off against the Dinamo Riga team — Gusev retrieved the puck on the defensive zone’s blue-line and chugged it up to Tsitsyura and by the end of the sequence, Morozov was all alone on the left side of the offensive zone and one-timed the puck into the net.

Marat Khusnutdinov

F, SKA St. Petersburg 
Week 8: 3G, 3 (1+2) points 
Season: 21G, 11 (4+7) points

Marat Khusnutdinov same as his teammate Ivan Morozov had a stellar week — he scored a goal and earned three assists in three games. In a meeting against Kunlun Red Star, the young forward earned two assists — in the team’s second goal in that game the youngster received a cross-ice pass from Nikita Gusev and reacted quickly to send the puck towards Linden Vey who was in front of the net and cashed it in for 2:0. The 19-year-old also got a say in the team’s final goal in that game when Joonas Kemppainen finalized the score and made it 7:0 — he got the puck to Vey who attempted a shot but was denied by the goalkeeper while Kemppainen was offering net-front presence to score the rebound. It’s notable that both assists for Marat came on the man advantage. His only goal for the week came in a 5:1 victory over Avangard Omsk where he helped his team get the first lead of the game — Mikko Lehtonen passed the puck to Khusnutdinov who had positioned himself at the right face-off circle and he beat the goalie earning the goal on power-play.

Vladimir Alistrov

F, Dinamo Minsk 
Week 8: 3G, 2 (2+0) points 
Season: 22G, 8 (6+2) points

Vladimir Alistrov’s Dinamo Minsk squad had a tough week playing in the far east region of the league. They had three games and managed to earn a victory only in one of them and the youngster played a huge part in getting his team two points. The young forward managed to score both go-ahead goals for Dinamo Minsk against Admiral Vladivostok — first on a counter he and his teammates lined up a well-managed attack where Alistrov instantly skated towards the net and past opposing defense as he got the puck which he then backhanded past the goalie and into the net. His second goal put an end to the game and also earned his team a victory — a small mishap in the neutral zone with both sides battling for the puck, the 20-year-old forward snuck up, stole the puck, and entered the zone in a beautiful manner undressing his opponent to then go five-hole on the goalie to make it 3:2.

Arseny Gritsyuk

F, Avangard Omsk 
Week 8: 2G, 2 (1+1) points 
Season: 17G, 10 (5+5) points

Avangard Omsk team which Gritsyuk represents had a rough outing this past week not being able to take any points in games against Ak Bars Kazan and SKA St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, the youngster did show what he is capable of. In the first game of the week against Ak Bars, he managed to earn an assist in one of the teams two goals — Gritsyuk got his hands on the puck that his teammate had retrieved in the offensive zone and forwarded it towards the net creating a sequence in which Vladimir Zharkov cashed in on a rebound. In his team’s 5:1 loss against SKA, the 20-year-old netted their only goal early in the first to make it 1:0. Puck was thrown ahead and Arseny Gritsyuk went on to race for it against two opponents — he was the fastest one and even after a tripping attempt was made he stood his ground and scored on a breakaway.

Konstantin Shostak

G, Severstal Cherepovets
Week 8: 2G, GAA 1.00, .959 SVS% 
Season: 11G, GAA 1.79, .932 SVS%

Shostak and his team had three games to play this week and they earned victories in all three games. Although Shostak dressed for all three he went out on the ice in two of them — against Dinamo Riga and Salavat Yulaev Ufa. In the first game against Dinamo at home, Shostak recorded a shutout stopping all 25 of the opposing shots. Meanwhile, the game against the Ufa team was much closer on the scoresheet. The opponent managed to score two goals on the goalie but the goalie finished off the game with a victory while he faced 24 shots and turned away 22 of them securing two points and registering .917 SVS%. Shostak didn’t play at all in the game against Barys but his team still managed to earn a 5:1 victory there.

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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo (Minsk)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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