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 thirteenth week. This edition features a forward and a goalie from Torpedo, an Avangard standout, a forward from Traktor as well as a defenseman from SKA.

Ivan Chekhovich

F, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 
Week 13: 3G, 4 (2+2) points 
Season: 36G, 18 (12+6) points

Although the Torpedo team struggled this past week managing to win in one out of three outings young Ivan Chekhovich managed to significantly boost his point total. In a 3:1 loss against Metallurg Magnitogorsk, he remained quiet though. The 22-year-old followed up with a stellar perfomance in a 3:2 loss against Dinamo Riga — he first assured that the game would be tied close to the mid-point of the second period when his teammates forced an error in their own defensive zone, ran up the ice as Ziyat Paigin pulled bodies on to himself and passes to leave Ivan all alone to beautifully deke while standing still to score a beauty on Johan Mattsson. Riga went up by a goal but the youngster was there to tie the game one more time — a simple entrance into the offensive zone by Veryayev who passed to Chekhovich as he went to drive the net and he finished the sequence with a goal. Riga however, still earned a victory in the shootout. His team’s only win came against CSKA where the young forward earned two secondary assists that helped to run up the score, 2:0 and 3:0 respectively which ended up helping grab two points with a score of 5:2.

Arseny Gritsyuk

F, Avangard Omsk 
Week 13: 3G, 3 (2+1) points 
Season: 29G, 19 (12+7) points

An eventful week for Arseny Gritsyuk and his Avangard Omsk team as they took part in the KHL World Games event where they faced off against Ak Bars Kazan. In the Dubai game, Avangard lost with a score of 3:1, and Arseny was left without points although he registered 19 minutes and 49 seconds of ice-time. His best outing was upon returning home to Balashika where his team hosted Dinamo Riga. The opponents looked better but the young forward was the man who began the comeback and began a sequence that led to three goals in 64 seconds. Gritsyuk first tied the score with a wrist shot that was handed to him by Nikita Soshnikov and 46 seconds later the same connection worked once again but this time from a further range — Soshnikov passed up to the youngster who entered the zone and directed the puck at the net from the cover of opposing defenseman, the goalie made a marginal error and let that slip past him which ultimately gave Avangard their first lead and led to a huge victory with a final score of 4:1. The 20-year-old followed up with an assist in the very next game — 25 seconds into the match he found Corban Knight with a cross-crease pass that led to 1:0 in a game that his team couldn’t win, losing to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Vitaly Kravtsov

F, Traktor Chelyabinsk
Week 13: 3G, 3 (0+3) points 
Season: 12G, 9 (5+4) points

Since returning to Traktor Chelyabinsk Vitaly Kravtsov has been one of the main stars of the team and he proved it once again this week. Three games and an assist in each one of them. In a 4:1 victory against Spartak Moscow, Vitaly was involved in the team’s third goal that set the score at 3:0 — he forced a turnover in the offensive zone to quickly find Tkachyov who sent the puck further to Vitaly Abramov who then one-timed the puck for the goal. Against Kunlun Red Star the 21-year-old helped his team to go up with a score of 2:1 — Kravtsov received the puck in his own zone, skated up the ice to find Vladimir Tkachyov going down the middle and flip it right on his stick for a shot that went up high and past the goalie. Although the Kunlun team later tied the score, another goal was found by Traktor to take two points in a 3:2 victory. The only game they lost was against SKA St. Petersburg and it wasn’t a close contest whatsoever, yet the youngster still found himself with a helper in his team only goal — he entered the zone and having drawn three opposing players on to himself dropped the puck down to Ilya Karpukhin who shot the puck towards the net for Abramov to change the direction. The celebrations weren’t too loud as the game ended with a loss of 4:1.

Pyotr Kochetkov

G, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 
Week 13: 2G, GAA 2.50, .926 SVS% 
Season: 15G, GAA 2.20, .927 SVS%

The workload and opponents that both Kochetkov and Torpedo faced were big although two games were played this past week. The hardest one was against Metallurg Magnitogorsk in which a 3:1 loss got handed to them. In the match, the young goalie faced 40 shots and managed to turn away 37 of them. In the other game this week CSKA was the opponent and Kochetkov once again performed well this time turning away 26 of the 28 shots he faced. In this one his team’s offense also showed up when necessary — first, they went up 3:0 and as CSKA began showing some retaliation getting two back — his teammates got two more. The 22-year-old finished the game with a .929 SVS%.

Daniil Pylenkov

D, SKA St. Petersburg 
Week: 3G, 2 (1+1) points 
Season: 32G, 7 (2+5) points

A perfect week for the young Daniil Pylenkov and SKA team as they took the ice for three rounds of battles earning victories in all three of them. At the age of 21, the young defenseman is playing huge minutes — a great example was the game against Jokerit where he got to play 26 minutes 24 seconds. Those minutes were enough for one assist in a tic-tac-toe connection between himself Mikhail Vorobyov and the goal-scorer Anton Burdasov. The young player was a hero for his team’s second match where they met Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg — right in the middle of the game he came through to score the only goal of the match. First Marchenko got himself a rebound that didn’t go in but the 21-year-old kept his head down, headed to the net, and assured that the puck would bounce in the net following the third rebound earning his team a perfect victory. He finished off the week against Traktor where he spent 26 minutes and 14 seconds on the ice, made one shot in a 4:1 victory.

Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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