2nd straight CJHL side to medal at eight-nation event
SOCHI, Russia – Vladislav Okoryak turned aside all 31 shots he faced, while Grigory Denisenko tallied twice, to help lead Yaroslavl Loko to a 3-0 victory over Team AJHL Saturday in the championship game of the Sirius Junior Club World Cup in Sochi.
This marks the second straight year a team, representing both the Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada, has earned a medal at the eight-nation international event while Yaroslavl, the defending Russian Jr. League winners, repeated as champions as they won their third JCWC title in four years.
At the 2018 JCWC, the Ottawa Capitals from the CCHL captured the bronze.
Featuring eight players who have been drafted by National Hockey League clubs, this strong Russian side pressed the pace early on and peppered AJHL starter Matthew Davis (Spruce Grove Saints), who provided solid netminding and benefitted from a couple of attempts off the goal post, kept Loko at bay through the first half of the opening period.
However, Yaroslavl would eventually open the scoring at 14:41 of the frame as Denisenko came down the right side and fired a high shot that clipped off the glove of Davis, trickled behind him, and slid into the open net.
The AJHL’s best chance to get on the board came three minutes into the second stanza as Marc Andre-Benoit (Bonnyville Pontiacs) darted into the left faceoff dot and wired a shot that beat Loko goalkeeper Okoryak, but rang off the crossbar and flew out of play.
After the AJHL generated further chances to try and level the proceedings, including a five-on-three man advantage, it was Yaroslavl that countered and capitalized, via the power play, in the latter stages of the second as Nikita Anokhovsky promptly one-timed a Nikolai Kovalenko cross-ice feed and went high on a sprawling Davis to give the Russians a 2-0 lead after two periods.
Up two skaters with five minutes remaining, Denisenko helped secure the win for his side as he wheeled around in the AJHL zone, cut to the middle and hammered a blast through a crowd to finish things off as Loko won their 15th consecutive game at the JCWC.
Davis made 32 tops in defeat for his side.
Earning JCWC tournament award honours were Alex Young (Canmore Eagles), who was named Top Forward and Michael Benning (Sherwood Park Crusaders) who garnered Top Defenceman laurels.
Photo credits: JCWC Media Images