Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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The ninth 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 Sochi line-mates, returnees from Dinamo Minsk and Dynamo Moscow as well as a debutant earning his first KHL points from Avtomobilist.

Amir Garayev

F, HC Sochi 
Week 9: 3G, 4 (2+2) points 
Season: 26G, 12 (8+4) points

Amir Garayev had himself an incredible week of hockey, playing in three games for HC Sochi helping the team earn two victories in the contest. He managed to earn points in all three matches. In the opening game of the week, his team managed to earn a 3:1 victory in which the youngster scored a goal — an empty netter to put an end to the game with 9 seconds left in the third period. In the 2:0 victory against Torpedo the 20-year-old recorded two assists on both of his team’s goals. In the first one, he helped to retrieve the puck in the defensive zone which helped his teammates run down the ice so that his teammate could cash in on a rebound. On the second goal, Amir did the most of the job — he won the face-off and once again the puck was on his teammate’s stick who put in an empty netter. In a 3:1 loss against Kunlun Red Star, he scored his team’s only goal to tie the game in the second frame — the puck ended up behind the net and in the corner of the offensive zone, as he approached the front of the net his teammate found him and he put the puck past the goalie.

Artyom Nikolayev

F, HC Sochi 
Week 9: 3G, 4 (2+2) points 
Season: 24G, 15 (6+9) points

Artyom Nikolayev just like his teammate Garayev had his opportunity to play three games with HC Sochi and earned the same amount of points. In the game against Spartak Nikolayev got the puck to Garayev who then scored the empty-net goal. Against Torpedo, the 2:0 victory was crafted by him as he was the player who scored both goals — Garayev retrieved the puck while Nikolayev went down the ice awaiting his teammate Kirill Petkov who got the puck towards the net for the rebound that made the first goal of the game happen. The second goal as stated prior was an empty-netter — Gareyev won the face-off and Nikolayev threw the puck into an empty net from the netrual zone. In the game against Kunlun, both players connected once again as the 22-year-old forward was the one who got the puck to the front of the net and on the stick of Amir for the only goal of their team.

Ilya Usov

F, Dinamo Minsk 
Week 9: 2G, 3 (2+1) points 
Season: 24G, 17 (7+10) points

Ilya Usov continues his incredible season earning three points in two games to mark yet another return to the ranks of the young guns. His Dinamo Minsk team lost in both outings failing to earn any points. Two high-scoring games featuring at least eight goals between the teams and in the first one against Salavat Yulaev Ufa the young forward earned an assist — he dropped the puck to Bengtsson who got it up to Varfolomeyev for a sharp angle goal that surprised many thus giving their team a 2:2 tie on power-play. The game itself ended with a final score of 3:5 in favor of the Ufa side. The very next game between Dynamo Moscow and Dinamo Minsk was a high-scoring affair but an even bigger loss — 3:7. Usov got himself two goals in that match, both in the third period. First, he capitalized on power-play, he created space for himself for a wrist-shot that flew over the net and hit the glass, yet still ended up in the net. The second goal came with 4 minutes and 10 seconds left in the third on a delayed penalty where he backhanded the puck into the net after a hefty rebound.

Dmitry Rashevsky

F, Dynamo Moscow 
Week 9: 3G, 3 (1+2) points 
Season: 25G, 24 (14+10) points

Dynamo Moscow had a rough week losing two out of three games they played, yet Dmitry added to his point total. In the first game against SKA St. Petersburg, he earned two points, one for goal and one for an assist. Rashevsky scored a goal to pull his team back within a single goal — he and his teammate had a rush where he went straight to the front of the net and beat the goalie from close distance after receiving a cross-crease pass from Anton Wedin. The 21-year-old helped to set up a power-play goal — after cycling the puck he received it at the right-hand side and dropped it down to his teammate who quickly passed Sergeyev for a one-time from the blue-line which happened to get past the goalie. In a 7:3 goal galore victory, Rashevsky managed to earn another assist — he managed to keep the puck in the offensive zone leaving it for Eric O’Dell who then went towards the net setting up Alexander Petunin for the goal.

Vasily Filyayev

F, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 
Week 9: 2G, 2 (1+1) points 
Season: 3G, 2 (1+1) points

After making his KHL debut against Metalurg Magnitogorsk Vasily Filyayev managed to take part in two games this past week. His happy moments came in a 5:2 victory against Vityaz where he got his first two career points. He was off to a quick start assisting in Avto’s first goal that gave them a 1:0 lead. The game seemed to be tight, up until the second period where Filyayev gave his team a huge boost with a follow-up goal for 2:0 — a superb setup by Stanislav Bocharov who dropped back a pass to the 22-year-old forward that received the puck on backhand but managed to create himself a perfect wrist shot attempt that flew into the far side of the net.

Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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Related clubs

Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo (Minsk)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
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