Clutch

Agidel’s Olga Sosina on the move. (Image Source)

Our Universiade recap is on its way — you will see it here in the next day or so — but right now we need to talk about Olga Sosina. I generally apply adjectives such as “redoubtable,” “formidable,” or even “fearsome” to the 26-year-old Agidel Ufa forward; in today’s third and deciding game of the Women’s Hockey League semi-final between her team and SKIF Nizhny Novgorod, she was all of those things, and there are doubtless some SKIF players who will be seeing her in their nightmares for awhile. Read on, as we look back on the semifinal round of the Women’s Hockey League playoffs, and on a jaw-dropping clutch performance by Ms. Sosina.

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Women’s Hockey League Semi-Final Preview

Action from earlier this season between SKIF Nizhny Novgorod (in blue) and Agidel Ufa. Those two teams will renew acquaintances in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs on Saturday! (Image Source)

We are set for the start of the Russian Women’s Hockey League‘s playoffs! The league introduced a post-season in 2017-18, and the inaugural event ended with Agidel Ufa defeating Tornado Moscow Oblast three games to zero in the best-of-five final. But Tornado missed out on the playoffs this time around, replaced by post-season first-timers Biryusa Krasnoyarsk. Joining Biryusa will be SKIF Nizhny Novgorod, Dynamo St. Petersburg, and defending champions and top seed Agidel Ufa. Read on, for a look at the semifinal match-ups!

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Gagarin Cup Playoffs, Round 2: The East!

Salavat Yulaev’s Teemu Hartikainen, the current playoff scoring leader with ten first-round points, will now try to help his team past East Conference top seed Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. (Image Source)

Yesterday, we previewed Round 2 in the KHL’s West Conference, and CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg duly won their opening matches today — although, SKA, once again, had a very tough time of it and only came out on top by 1-0. And now it is time to turn our attention to the East Conference, where the Round 2 series begin on Thursday. And if the favourites were fairly clear in the West, such is not the case in East — read on, for some very difficult predictions indeed!

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Gagarin Cup Playoffs, Round 2: The West!

Dynamo Moscow’s Alexander Yeryomenko, the best ‘tender in the league in the first round.
(Image Source)

We stand on the eve of the second round of the 2018-19 Gagarin Cup playoffs; the two series in the West Conference get underway on Wednesday. Round 1 was great fun, with a couple of upsets, some near-upsets, and some tremendous individual performances. Is there more of the same in store for the second round? Read on, as we take a look at the two West Conference match-ups!

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Champions!

A resumption to blogging is coming this week, tomorrow in fact, but I want to take this opportunity to send large congratulations to the Russian women’s national team, gold medalists at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. Team Russia overcame Team Canada 2-0 in a fiercely tight final today to take the top spot on the podium for the third straight Universiade tournament. The heroines of the final: goalie Nadezhda Morozova, who made 34 saves for the shutout in the town where she plays her club hockey for Biryusa, and Gorny St. Petersburg defender Liana Ganeyeva. Ganeyeva’s third-period powerplay goal broke a 0-0 deadlock and would stand up as the winner in the end. Canada finishes as silver medalists, while Japan downed the U.S. 2-1 to clinch bronze.

The Russian men’s Universiade team will play in their gold-medal game tomorrow, against Slovakia, also hunting for a third straight gold at the biennial competition. We will have a full recap of the Universiade competition later this week, but tomorrow, we look at the upcoming Round 2 in the KHL playoffs.

And congratulations once again to the Russian women’s team players and coaches!

All Kinds of Excitement

Avangard Omsk goalie Igor Bobkov gets a hug from team captain Alexei Yemelin after their stunning four-game sweep of defending champions Ak Bars Kazan. (Image Source)

Oh, it has been an interesting time in the KHL playoffs! The top seeds from each conference are through safely to the second round, but the second-ranked teams have found the going tough, and as for the defending Gagarin Cup champions… well, they are done for the year. Read on, for some comments on the KHL post-season story through the first four games of each series!

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Coming Attractions

The Russian women’s national team arrives in Krasnoyarsk for the 2019 Winter Universiade.
 (Image Source)

This will be a busy weekend in Russian hockey! Post-season play in the VHL commenced on Thursday, to join the KHL’s ongoing playoffs. And on Friday, the 2019 edition of the biennial Winter Universiade opens in Krasnoyarsk, in central Siberia. The KHL’s playoffs we discussed earlier in the week (and my prediction for the SKA-Spartak series is looking a tad… wrong, at the moment); read on for some talk about the VHL post-season and the upcoming Universiade!

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2018-19 KHL Playoff Preview: The East in Round 1

Goalie Jakub Kovář and forward Nigel Dawes were oh-so-important as Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg secured a first-ever regular-season East Conference title. (Image Source)

It is slightly late, as a couple of these series got underway today, but here at last is the East Conference for the first round of the hunt for the Gagarin Cup (the West Conference preview can be seen here). Read on, as we seek answers to how first-time Conference champions Avtomobilist may fare, whether age has finally caught up to Sergei Mozyakin, and other such questions!

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2018-19 KHL Playoff Preview: The West in Round 1

CSKA Moscow will enter the 2018-19 Gagarin Cup playoffs as top seed in the West Conference — and with good reason! (Image Source)

The final playoff spots have been determined, the first-round pairings are all sorted out, and on Monday, the 25th, the 2018-19 Gagarin Cup playoffs will get underway. And that means that it is time for previews; we will start with the West Conference, so read on!

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Women’s Hockey Update: February 19th, 2019

Team Russia with the championship trophy after their recent tournament triumph in Dmitrov. (Image Source)

Lots of interesting stuff to get through in this update! The Women’s Hockey League regular season is nearing its end, and we’ll take a look at how the battles for the final playoff places are shaping up. And there’s a recap of the successful six-nations international tournament in Dmitrov last weekend, plus a very familiar name now playing in the amateur women’s league. Read on!

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