The Kontinental Hockey League’s commission has determined the best players of the eighteenth week of the Regular Season:
Best goalie was Igor Shestyorkin (SKA), who didn’t concede a goal in two away games. At this moment, the SKA goalie is tied at the top of the League’s rankings for shutouts, with eight games without a goal conceded.
– Best defenseman was Vadim Kudako (Severstal), who won three games out of three last week, producing 3 (1+2) points.
Junior medalist helps Team West to victory
Last week Kirill Marchenko helped Russia secure bronze at the World Juniors in Canada. This week, his goal assisted in the win for Team West in the Junior Hockey League’s Challenge Cup in Nizhnekamsk. More than 5,000 fans watched a tight, hard-fought clash between the top up and coming prospects. Marchenko, of SKA-1946, and Mark Verba (Russkie Vityazi) got the goals, while goalies Nikita Lysenkov and Vsevolod Skotnikov shared 35 saves to frustrate the East.
Marchenko, a Blue Jackets draft pick, was one of four players selected to go to Tatarstan for next week’s KHL All-Star game. “I certainly didn’t expect that,” he said. “I thought there were other guys who played better than me on the night. But I’ll be ready for it. It’s going to be great to be a part of it and to experience the atmosphere for myself and I’ll be thrilled to be part of any team there.” Marchenko is joined by Verba, plus Anton Vasiliev of Dynamo St. Petersburg and Arsen Khisamutdinov of Reaktor Nizhnekamsk.
All-Star Week gets underway
It’s all eyes on Tatarstan as KHL’s festival of hockey begins. In regular season action, three teams booked their playoff places and our World Junior stars came home from Canada.
Confirmed in the playoffs
The past week saw three teams secure their place in the postseason. CSKA was first to get there, quickly followed by Eastern Conference leader Avtomobilist – which earned its spot on the same day as a 6-0 loss at home to SKA. The following game day saw SKA, currently second in the West, join the group. In both conferences, the battle to get into the top eight looks likely to go to the wire. In the West, Dinamo Riga is in ninth place, three points behind Vityaz after 48 games. HC Sochi is one point better in seventh, but has played a game more. In the East, it’s shaping up to be a straight fight between Traktor and Kunlun Red Star, with the Chinese team four points down on last season’s defeated conference finalist.
photo courtesy of photo.khl.ru