After a 3-2 Over-Time win in game 5 over Shakthar Soligorsk, Yunost Minsk wins the Belarusian championship 2019-20.
Despite the COVID-19 pandamic, ice hockey play-off games are still taking place – you just have to know where to look. In the fifth game of the Belarusian championship, the Belarusian Presidential Cup, there was the grand finale. Yunost Minsk, the farm team of KHL participant Dinamo Minsk, was able to win the second title in a row by defeating Shakhter Soligorsk. And in both teams there were players who were also active in this year’s KHL season.
Shakhter Soligorsk, third place after the basic round, has two active KHLs in his team with Evgeny Dadonov and Roman Dostanko. Also at Yunost Minsk, in view of the close partnership with Dinamo Minsk, a total of nine – from experienced national players to aspiring newcomers – were in action. Two of the most impressive players came from Dinamo youth, as Dinamo Minsk head coach Woodcroft emphasized. Ivan Drozdov, 20, is currently leading the ranking at Yunost. He scored 18 (5 + 13) points in 13 playoff games after 32 appearances and 5 (2+3) points with Minsk in the KHL.
Defender Vladislav Yeryomenko also experienced an upswing on his return to Yunost. The 20-year-old had a difficult time in the KHL during the regular KHL season. He enjoys the playoff action and faces a different challenge than life in the KHL, as he told the Belarusian journalists shortly after his return to Yunost. “The KHL is much faster, but playing here is also a challenge,” he said. “It’s a playoff time, you have to focus on every game.” (source: KHL.ru)
Just like the young, up-and-coming players, experienced players have also contributed. For example, Shakhters Evgeny Dadonov, 27, had a second stint in the KHL this season. The striker returned to the big league for the first time since 2014 and it was not easy for the Minsk squad. In 40 games, he only collected two points. Back in Soligorsk, he recovered and led the standings in the first round of the playoffs with four goals and two assists. At the showdown, he had nine points from 15 games after the season. Like 25-year-old defender Roman Dostanko, Dadonov’s contract with Dinamo ended in February, but both could stay on the radar after helping Shakhtar Soligorsk to the grand finale.
After a difficult season, 30-year-old Mikhail Stefanovich can be found in the Yunost roster. In the Dinamo lineup followed an in and out. With 14 points and decisive goals in the victory in extra time in the third game of the final, he was an essential part of Yunost’s success. Alexander Kogalev also made a useful contribution with five points on the way to the final.
The fifth game itself started ideally for Yunost. After a pass from Yeroyomenko Lopachuk scored the 1-0 (9.). Soligorsk, however, was able to hold against it and it remained with this narrow lead for Yunost until the first break. In the second period, exactly one minute was played, and Zhidkikh scored the 1-1 (21.). In the following minutes there followed a fast, fight-oriented game with many good chances.
A few minutes before the second break, Antonov gives Yunost another 2-1 lead (37.). In the third period, Yunos had the chance of a penalty after only 39 seconds – but Kashkar fails on Soligorsk goalie Malyutin (41.). This missed opportunity should take revenge, because Krikunenko, after pass from Zhidkikh, scored 2-2 (56.) and it followed in the first overtime.
In the extra time, Yunos had the better end for himself – in a power play, Yeryomeno took this chance and scored 3-2 (68.). With this win, Yunost Minsk won the “Best of Seven” final series 4: 1 and won the Belarusian championship for the seventh time. In addition, Yunost Minsk is the Belarusian participant in the Hockey Champions League 2020-21.
Yunost Minsk vs Shakthar Soligorsk 3-2 OT (1-0, 1-1, 0-1, 1-0) – total: 4-1