Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. From the hottest rivalries to the biggest tournaments, we focus on matchups that will impact the landscape among top teams in the sport.
Krylia Sovetov, Lokomotiv clash in Top-15 matchup between ‘06s
Entering the week as the No. 2-ranked team among Russian 2006-born clubs, Krylia Sovetov (8-2-2) prepares itself for a matchup against No. 7 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (5-2-0) on Oct. 23rd.
|Sunday, October 23|
Fresh off a 3-2 overtime loss to CSKA Moscow, Krylia will look to get back into the win column this weekend.
It will be the first game between these two teams this season, with Lokomotiv leading the all-time series 12-6-1. Lokomotiv skated away with a 5-1 victory in the last game between the two clubs back in March at the end of last season.
Krylia has propelled themselves in the rankings thanks to victories against top opponents, including a close 4-3 win over No. 3 Dynamo Moscow. An early factor in the team’s success has been the production of three of its top scorers from last season. Ivan Kirilin (9G, 2A), Amirkhan Gusniev (2G, 7A) and Vitaly Korolyuk (2G, 6A) provide a balanced attack.
For the 5-foot-5 Korolyuk, the scoring touch seems to be a generational trait. His father Alexander notched more than 100 points in 296 NHL games as a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Meanwhile, Lokomotiv suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Spartak Moscow last weekend, which ended a three-game winning streak.
Sitting firmly in the Top 10, Lokomotiv has fared well against the top competition of their birth year. To this point in the season, they are the only team to have defeated No. 1 CSKA, 5-3 back on Sept. 25th.
While the club has nine players with three or more points, the focus for Lokomitiv in shutting down Krylia will be in the net. Maxim Podomatsky has started a majority of Lokomotiv’s games, compiling a 2.25 goals-against average in the process. His 6-foot-1 frame looms large in the crease, leaving little room for opponents to find a place to slip a puck.
After this tilt, the two clubs will meet two more times this season, once in December and again in March of the new year.
Two Top Finland Teams Face off Again
Just over two weeks since their last meeting, No. 7 TPS (9-4-0) will take on No. 8 Lukko (8-5-0). A game that has significant implications in the ‘07 rankings for Finland.
If this matchup is anything like the last time they took to the ice together, it will be an exciting affair.
|Saturday, October 22 @ 4:45 p.m. EEST|
Back on Oct. 8th, TPS edged out Lukko in overtime, 5-4. It was a back-and-forth contest once Petr Vechet got the scoring started for Lukko in the first period. TPS finally gained some breathing room by going up 4-2 in the middle of the second frame on a goal from Wilmer Kallio.
It was then that Vechet put matters into his own hands.
Vechet would hit the back of the net with a strong wrist shot at the end of the second period to make it a 4-3 game. Then, with a little under a minute remaining in regulation, he would complete a hat trick to force overtime. Three minutes into the overtime period, Henri Aava put the game away for TPS to halt any chance of a comeback victory for Lukko.
Vechet’s penchant for heroics has helped propel him for the lead on Lukko in points with 15 (7G, 8A), followed closely by playmaker Julius Suominen’s 12 (2G, 10A). Look for TPS to counter with their own one-two punch of Wilmer Kallio (6G, 7A) and Jeremi Virtanen (6G, 5A).
Winning Streak on the Line Between Sweden ‘09s
No. 7 Djurgårdens IF (18-8-1) hopes that a victory against No. 4 Flemingsbergs (14-0-0) will build their resume in the top 10 rankings among Sweden ‘09 teams.
|Sunday, October 23 @ 5:30 p.m. CET|
Mälarhöjdens Ice Hall
Going 6-1-0 since district play began, Djurgårdens shut out Haninge Anchors HC svart 3-0 in its latest contest. They are currently in third place in their group with a 2-1-0 record, behind Trångsunds IF vit (2-0-0) and Flemingsbergs (2-0-0).
Djurgårdens has fared well in the majority of its games so far. With a heavy tournament schedule as well as a handful of district games under their belt, their opponents know their strengths and weaknesses. Scoring has not been an issue for them, but goaltending has been a bit sub-par.
With a team like Flemingbergs waiting for them, it could be an area of concern.
Flemingsbergs is currently in the midst of a 14-game winning streak and will enter the matchup fully rested. It will be their first game since Oct. 9th. Not much more can be said of the offensive firepower of this team, as they seemingly score at will from anywhere on the ice.
Djurgårdens’ focus will have to be on the defensive aspect of its game, trying to limit the chances in the defensive zone. If not, it could spell disaster and will only boost Flemingsbergs’ chances at continuing an incredible streak.
Battle for Moscow
Two 2010 programs experiencing stellar starts to the season are No. 2 Spartak Moscow (18-5-0), and No. 3 Dynamo Moscow (11-4-0). A game between two teams so close in the standings could have major implications for seeding moving deeper into the season.
|Saturday, October 22|
Last time out, Spartak had a meeting with No. 1-ranked CSKA Moscow, falling 7-5 in a high-scoring affair. The loss also ended a seven-game winning streak.
Spartak’s goal-scoring ability has been on display all season long, led by the trio of Artem Korolev (16G, 18A), Alexander Sidorenko (10G, 12A) and Gordey Khotkov (8G, 13A). As a team, they have only been held to 2 or fewer goals in two contests; one 2-1 loss to Lokomotiv and a 2-0 loss to CSKA.
Dynamo sits right on the heels of CSKA and Spartak in the top 10 in the country. However, Spartak cruised by Dynamo 6-2 when the two met previously back in August. Still, Dynamo has the skill to skate with the very best in Russia.
Arseniy Rychagov’s 11 points lead his team, with much of the supporting cast of forwards all huddled close behind. A balanced attack throughout four lines is arguably Dynamo’s biggest strength. The team’s success could hinge on whether or not that depth and versatility continues.
Time will tell if Dynamo learned anything from their first encounter with Spartak, or if the latter will once again come out on top.