Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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Another week of KHL’s regular season has concluded and now it’s time to look at who were the best performing U23 players during the twelfth week. This edition features many fresh faces, two forwards from CSKA Moscow, a forward from Vityaz Podolsk and Moscow Spartak respectively as well as a returning goalie from Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod.

Takhir Mingachyov

F, CSKA Moscow 
Week 12: 2G, 3 (2+1) points 
Season: 21G, 3 (2+1) points

Takhir Mingachyov has been on the CSKA’s roster for the better part of the season but it has only been recently when he has shown what he is capable of. This past week he played in two games helping his army team win on both occasions. In a 3:2 victory over Dinamo Riga on the road, he scored his first KHL goal — a quick attack by his team led to a shot from the blue-line and the 20-year-old forward has placed himself in front of the net for a perfect re-direct that gave his team a 1:0 lead in the game which later turned out to be an important one. In the match against Metallurg Magnitogorsk, he added two more points to his total — at first, he managed to play an important role in Andrei Svetlakov’s goal where he assured that the puck wouldn’t leave the offensive zone which then led to 1:0 for his team. In the third, he followed up with a goal to tie the game close to the mid-point of that frame — Maxim Sorkin found the youngster in front of the net and he was perfect to place the puck in the upper side of the net. CSKA ended up winning that game with a score of 6:4.

Stepan Starkov

F, Vityaz Podolsk 
Week 12: 2G, 2 (1+1) points 
Season: 2G, 2 (1+1) points

Another young forward had his moments to shine this past week — Stepan Starkov earned his first points of the season. In a 3:1 victory against Barys Nur-Sultan, he helped to assure his team would go up by two goals with an assist on power-play as the game was reaching its equator — he entered the zone and simply passed it to Ivan Volodin who wristed the puck into the upper far corner of the net to surprise the goalie. The 22-year-old player’s second point came in the second game of the week where he scored his team’s only goal. Late in the third period and on the man advantage. The opposing goalie made a crucial mistake which allowed Starkov’s teammate to steal the puck from the netminder and the puck suddenly was on the youngster’s stick for him to simply put it into an empty net. A happy moment for the player while also not the best outing for Vityaz as they lost that game with a score of 1:4.

Pyotr Kochetkov

G, Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod 
Week 12: 2G, GAA 2.00, .927 SVS% 
Season: 13G, GAA 2.15, .927 SVS%

Two games this week for Kochetkov and his Torpedo team and they were two different ones hockey-wise as well as result-wise. In the first game of the week, they faced red hot Severstal Cherepovets side which has been almost unstoppable. Torpedo did go up by a goal in the second period to open up the scoring but the opponents answered with three in a row. Kochetkov finished the game having stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced with an SVS% sitting at .857. The young goalie and his team followed up with a much better perfomance in the next game against Vitjaz where he managed to stop 33 of 34 shots he faced with a spectacular .971 SVS%. The 22-year-old was close to a shutout but the penalty kill didn’t work well at the end of the game and his error was what caused him to lose a perfect match in which his team was up 4:0 but finished it off by winning with a score of 4:1.

Maxim Sorkin

F, CSKA Moscow 
Week 12: 2G, 2 (0+2) points 
Season: 3G, 11 (5+6) points

Maxim Sorkin boosted his points total this past week while appearing in two games. While against Dinamo Riga he earned a positive rating of +1 and ice time sat at over fifteen minutes he didn’t score any points there but he redeemed it in the second match of the week against the Magnitogorsk squad. Sorkin was involved when his team went up 1:0 in the first period — after receiving Mingachyov’s pass the youngster got the puck to Svetlakov who finished off the sequence with a goal. Sorkin’s set-up was extremely important in another goal where he assured that previously mentioned Mingachyov would get the puck in front of the crease to reach a tie which later helped CSKA to score three more in order to earn a well-deserved victory.

Ivan Drozdov

F, Spartak Moscow 
Week 12: 1G, 1 (1+0) point 
Season: 34G, 8 (6+2) points

Ivan Drozdov and his Spartak Moscow squad didn’t have the busiest week whatsoever, yet his team and himself managed to earn points in a very important game against Dynamo Moscow team. In the match things were sorted out very quickly — just 4 minutes and 36 seconds in Spartak squad was up by three and Drozdov had played his part. 2 minutes and 27 seconds into the game he scored an even-strength goal — the puck was shot towards the net from the right face-off circle and the 22-year-old had parked himself in front of the net and all he had to do was change the direction of the puck that gave his team a 2:0 lead. Both teams did exchange goals in the second and third periods and the game ended with a score of 4:1.

Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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Related clubs

Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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