Women’s Hockey Update: Nov. 1st, 2016
This week we are all about international hockey, as both the senior and Under-18 Russian squads will be in action in the coming days. Read on, for a look at their respective rosters, and a quick look in at how the Canadian-based Russian players are doing early in their seasons.
The Russian women’s national team is off on its travels this week, voyaging to Füssen, Bavaria, for games against Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Twenty-eight players have been invited into Team Russia’s fold for the tournament:
Goalies: Nadezhda Alexandrova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Nadezhda Morozova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Valeriya Tarakanova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod)
Defenders: Alyona Andryushchenko (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Mariya Batalova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Viktoriya Chmyrikova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Liana Ganeyeva (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Angelina Goncharenko (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yekaterina Lobova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Yekaterina Nikolayeva (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Mariya Pechnikova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Anna Shibanova (Agidel Ufa), Nataliya Vorontsova (Agidel Ufa)
Forwards: Lyudmila Belyakova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yelena Dergachyova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yevgeniya Dyulina (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Diana Kanayeva (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Fanuza Kadirova (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Mariya Kokoshkina (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yekaterina Likhachyova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Lidiya Malyavko (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Elina Mitrofanova (Agidel Ufa), Yelena Podkamennaya (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Anna Shokhina (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Galina Skiba (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yelena Silina (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Yekaterina Smolentseva (Agidel Ufa), Olga Sosina (Agidel Ufa)
This is a bit of a “look-see” lineup, with a number key names missing for various reasons. Goalie Anna Prugova is out with an injury, forward Valeriya Pavlova is on maternity leave, and defender Nina Pirogova will be with the Under-18 squad this week, to name but three (there are others). Instead, the likes of blueliners Ganeyeva, Andryushchenko, Chmyrikova, and Vorontsova are getting a chance to show their abilities. However, this is not purely a youth movement on display, as national team veterans like Smolentseva and Skiba are in camp. So are several of the Russian national team’s “big guns”: Sosina, Shokhina, Kadirova, and on defense, Goncharenko.
As for the all-important goaltending, the three players chosen all have national team experience, and are as likely as anyone to be chosen for next year’s Women’s World Championship. We have already noted the absence of Prugova, and Dynamo St. Petersburg’s Mariya Sorokina, another worthy candidate for the national team, has been left at home this time as well.
Every so often a mental bell goes off and tells me that I should be paying more attention to a particular player; this season, Biryusa forward Lidiya Malyavko is an example of that phenomenon. After scoring 6-8-14 in 24 Women’s Hockey League games last season, she already has 13 points (6-7-13) in just 12 matche in 2016-17. The 21-year-old is doing an admirable job filling in for the absent Pavlova, and it will be fun to see if she can turn the resultant interest from the national team brass into something permanent (Malyavko made her Team Russia debut in September’s tour of the United States).
Russia will face Germany on November third, the Czech Republic on the fourth, and Switzerland on the fifth.
Russia’s Under-18 women’s team will also be in tournament action this coming week, as the youngsters will be at Tornado’s home arena in Dmitrov to host Finland, Germany, and Sweden. The Russian roster for these games is as follows:
Goalies: Diana Farkhutdinova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Valeriya Merkusheva (SK Sverdlovsk Oblast), Milena Tretyak (Orbita Zelenograd)
Defenders: Svetlana Bobrova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Alyona Khaustova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Anna Klimkina (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Mariya Kuznetsova (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Olesya Namestnikova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod U18), Alina Orlova (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Nina Pirogova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yelena Provorova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Dariya Zubok (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
Forwards: Darya Beloglazova (Pingviny Hockey School, Moscow), Polina Bolgareva (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Oksana Bratishcheva (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Yekaterina Dobrodeyeva (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Margarita Dorofeyeva (Orbita Zelenograd), Yuliya Kosonogova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod U18), Viktoriya Kulishova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Mariya Lobur (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yelena Mezentseva (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Mariya Nadezhdina (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Anastasiya Pestova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod U18), Yelizaveta Rodnova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Tatyana Shatalova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Olga Shibayeva (Atlant Moscow Oblast), Olga Shirokova (Orbita Zelenograd), Alyona Starovoitova (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
This may actually be a fairly solid look at the team that Head Coach Yevgeny Bobariko will select for the U18 Women’s Worlds in January. The presence on defence of Pirogova, who usually turns out for the senior national team but is still U18 age-eligible, tells us that. Injuries etc. in the next couple of months may have their say, but the Worlds team will likely be drawn almost entirely from these 28 players.
Names to watch for? Merkusheva should get the bulk of the goaltending duties, given how spectacularly well she has played for the woeful SK Sverdlovsk Oblast team in the Women’s Hockey League this season. She only turned 17 a month ago, but already has a couple of 50-save performances under her belt at the professional level and has become a player of great interest. Others who warrant a look include Beloglazova, who scored five points in her U18 Worlds debut last season, and that at the age of only 15. And like Merkusheva, Polina Bolgareva is enjoying a very nice rookie professional season, with a line of 7-4-11 in 12 games for SKIF.
You will notice SKIF listed quite a number of times in the roster above, with both the club’s senior Women’s Hockey League team and its Under-18 squad well-represented. Until very recently, SKIF were among the perennial contenders for the Women’s Hockey League title, but the last couple of seasons have been rebuilding ones, with the focus heavily on youth. It would appear that those efforts are beginning to bear fruit.
The schedule for the Dmitrov tournament has Russia facing Finland on November fourth, Germany on the fifth, and Sweden on the sixth.
I mentioned up above that some regular national teamers will be missing from the senior national team going into the Dmitrov tournament. Among them are Canadian-based forwards Iya Gavrilova and Alexandra Vafina, whose club seasons have begun. Gavrilova is playing her first campaign in the CWHL, for the defending champion Calgary Inferno. She missed the Inferno’s first two games, in early October, but was in the lineup this past weekend for 8-0 and 6-3 victories over Boston, and she contributed a goal and two assists to the cause. Kristi Patton of The Ice Garden recently spoke to Gavrilova, and the interview is worth a read.
Vafina, meanwhile, is in her senior year at the University of Calgary, playing for the Dinosaurs. The U. of C. has struggled to a 1-7 record out of the gate, but Vafina leads the team with three goals and four points through those eight games. Her +3 rating is also a team best, and she is one of only three Dinos on the positive side of the ledger in that statistic.
November is now upon us, and this month will see the beginning of the second season of play women’s amateur championship of Russia, the League of Women’s Hockey. I have confirmed start dates for three of the four groups of teams taking part (you can see the full list of 2016-17 participants here). The 2015-16 title went to Grad-1 Moscow, and they will certainly be back to defend it. The schedule for the opening rounds, as I know it so far:
- Group A: November 12th-13th in Moscow.
- Group Б: November 19th-20th in Strelna, Leningrad Oblast.
- Group B: (date unconfirmed) in Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk Oblast.
- Group Г: November 26th-27th in Kazan, Rep. of Tatarstan.
And that is about it for this week! Next Tuesday, we will recap the happenings in the two international tournaments discussed above, as well as any other news that might come our way. Thank you for reading!