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Author: Alessandro Seren Rosso (RussianProspects.com )Date: 02/06/2008
Round 46: Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix Coyotes) shines (Severstal - Lokomotiv detailed scouting analysis)

2009 U20 World Junior Championships

Viktor Tikhonov (2006 NHL Entry Draft) posing while playing for HC Dmitrov during the 2005-06 season (Photo Source: Viktor Tikhonov)

2007/2008 Russian Superliga – round 46. Severstal Cherepovets – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl


In the forty-sixth round of the Superliga, third placed Lokomotiv faces Severstal at the brand new Arena in Cherepovets, a city that lies on the Sheksna river (a tributary of the Volga) roughly placed half-way between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The guests are at the match without absence, while Severstal must renounce to one of its best defenders, Pavel Kanarskiy, out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury.  2008 eligible Maxim Chudinov won’t be part of the game as well. The home goalkeeper will be Alexander Vyukhin, and his direct opponent is the Finnish netminder Juuso Riksman, with Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals) as backup.
SEVERSTAL (Cherepovets) – LOKOMOTIV (Yaroslavl) – 2:5 (1:1, 1:3, 0:1).
GOALS:
- 1:0 Esipov 1 (Straka, 4.48, pp),
- 1:1 Anikeenko 3 (Tkachenko, Vasilev, 9.36, pp),
- 1:2 Tkachenko 13 (Gorokhov, 24.48),
- 1:3 Sokolov 6 (Irgl, Yashin, 35.16, pp),
- 1:4 Irgl 16 (35.34, bullit),
- 2:4 Egorshev 2 (Kovalenko, 37.35, pp),
- 2:5 Galimov 8 (Nepryaev, Rudenko, 47.02).
THREE STARS: Tkachenko, Yashin, Irgl.
SEVERSTAL (10): Vyukhin (2)(Mukhometov, 35.34); Shinin – Esipov, Grabal – Chaslava (2), Aleksandrov – Egorshev, Kuklev – Gimaev (2); Straka – Bardin – Trubachev-c, Soin – Gubin – Gorzhava, Kovalenko – Yakubov – Deev, Polygalov (4) – Glukhov – Tikhonov.
LOKOMOTIV (10): Riksman; Vallin – Zhukov (4), Vasilev (2) – Anikeenko (2), Sokolov – Gorokhov; Mikhnov – Ryabev – Kudashov-c, Yashin – Churilov – Irgl, Rudenko – Semin (2) – Tkachenko, Galimov – Nepryaev – Salmelaynen.


PERIOD 1:
The first chance of the game is on the stick of one of the most interesting prospects of these days, Viktor Tikhonov, whose shot from the top of the blue area, at the third minute, is well saved by Riksman. One minute later the guests get a penalty for too many men on the ice. Severstal ices the first line and finds the first goal of the match, with a top-shelf slapshot from the right side by Esipov. First goal of the season for the twenty-seven years old defender native of Moscow. Severstal as usual plays their aggressive kind of hockey and Lokomotiv has trouble getting thru their defense despite the better quality of their players. Like it's happened at the seventh minute, when two players pressed Alexander Galimov very hard, making him lose the puck in the defensive zone. Tikhonov could then get out from his third with the puck on the blade, trying a fast offensive rush, but after a couple of passes the puck gets lost. Midway through the first period Severstal gets near to the second goal: Esipov finds Yuri Trubachev (Calgary Flames) in front of the goalie, the consequent backhand went deflected by Straka, Riksman sees the puck at the last second and manages to save. Lokomotiv has get on its track after the slow start and can go on a powerplay as Vyukhin shots the puck over the glasses. Just a few seconds of numerical superiority and Lokomotiv ties it up: Vasiliev passes right to Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators), whose powerful slapshot goes in also thanks to Konstantin Rudenko’s screen on Vyukhin. Third goal with Lokomotiv jersey for him, fourth of the season considering also the one scored with Metallurg Novokuznetsk. The guests are slowly starting controlling the game.  A couple of minutes later Ivan Nepryaev with a slalom on the right flank embarrasses the opponent defense and centers the puck, but Salmelainen’s one timer is pad-saved by Vyukhin, whose play is always strong. On the other side of the rink Tikhonov imitates Nepryaev and gets roughed up by Gorokhov. Severstal is on a powerplay, but can’t exploit the chance, also because of the excellent Lokomotiv’s penalty killing, thus making the first period ending with the score tied at one.
PERIOD 2:
The second period starts with Lokomotiv in attack, searching for the tie breaker.  Only one minute in, and Dmitri Semin (St. Louis Blues) serves Rudenko behind the crease. He searches for the wrap-around, but Vyukhin gloves the puck freezing the game. Lokomotiv keep pushing and a few minutes later Alexei Mikhnov (Edmonton Oilers) gets in front of the goalkeeper, but once again Severstal’s net is saved by Vyukhin, who closes the pads right on time to avoid a five-hole goal. All this pushing by Lokomotiv thus can’t be contained by the hosts and at the fourth minute a shot by Ivan Tkachenko (Columbus Blue Jackets) from the left side, after a nice pass by Gorokhov, gets deflected by Egorshev and goes in for the deserved 2-1 advantage in favour of the Yaroslavl team. Right after this, Severstal has another powerplay chance, but they can’t be dangerous despite the commitment of the first line. The home team is again in the offensive third midway through the second period. Nice pass by Tikhonov for Polygalov, who comes put down with the stick by Vasiliev.  Severstal can go once again on a powerplay, but their play with the man advantage is awful in this occasion, being thus the opposite of the guests, that at the thirty-fifth minute get ahead by two goals as Sokolov capitulates on a quick slapshot from Alexei Yashin. The former NHL superstar has made a great play from behind the crease, serving the rushing man on the weak side with an accurate pass right on his blade. A few seconds later Mikhnov skates past Vyukhin who, after being surpassed by the forward, throws the stick at him searching for a desperate pokecheck, causing a clear penalty shot call.  Finn coach Heikkila indicates Irgl as a penalty shot player, and the Czech scores with an accurate five-hole wristshot.  Lokomotiv is now up 4-1 and Severstal decides to change goalkeeper, switching Vyukhin with thirty-five old veteran Ildar Mukhometov. Thirty second later another goal, happens a little brawl and five players in total are sent to the penalty box, three for Lokomotiv and two for Severstal, who then gets on a powerplay. This time the man advantage works: Andrei Kovalenko shoots from the blue line, Riksman saves, but leaving a big rebound. The puck went picked up by Egorshev who one-times it quickly on the near post. After the goal Severstal attacks head down and gets another man advantage, out Vasiliev again, but nothing worth happens till the second horn, that finishes with the guests up by two goals.
PERIOD 3:
Severstal is still on a powerplay at the beginning of the third period, but Riksman sees no dangers coming from them.  The home team keeps attacking trying to reopen the game, but at the seventh minute Lokomotiv finds space to rush in the offensive zone. Captain Rudenko serves Galimov completely unchallenged right of the crease and it’s easy for him to get it past Mukhometov, virtually closing the game. At the ninth minute Egorshev tries the reaction with a powerful slapper, but can’t find the net. Lokomotiv administers the advantage and can thus get out Cherepovets with a convincing victory.
Alessandros’ prospect of the game: Viktor Tikhonov
Has played strong throughout the whole game, and many dangerous actions started or passed from his stick. Good overall performance despite his team’s loss.
Lokomotiv prospects:
Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators), Right Defender
Grade: B
Has played a strong game in the second defensive pairing, with Vasiliev, adding a goal. He prefers to play a simple, defensive style of hockey, trying to stay out of troubles. Very good performance as he was solid in defense, letting little spaces to the opponents.
Alexander Ryabev, Forward
Grade: C
Has played some shifts with Yashin and Mikhnov without being dangerous. Tried hard, but had too little ice time.
Andrei Loktionov (2008 eligible), Right Wing
Grade: C
I think he played only one single shift. Like Ryabev, he is hurt by the fact that his coach plays mainly with two lines.
Severstal prospects:
Igor Alexandrov (Boston Bruins), Defender
Grade: C+
Paired with Kuklev. Hasn’t shined, but it seems that after the experience at the WJC he plays a bit more of an offensive style, which isn’t bad since his good understanding of the game.
Sergei Gimayev (Ottawa Senators), Defender
Grade: C-
Has been noticed only in the second period brawl.
Viktor Tikhonov, Forward
Grade: B+
Viktor Tikhonov has played a very good game, alternating as a center in the third line with Glukhov. Not only he played very well as said in the Prospect of the game report, but he was also one of the last players of Salavat to surrender, showing also a good mental game. He also commits a lot in defense, amplifying his chances of being noted by scouts for the forthcoming NHL draft.
Alexei Gloukhov (Tampa Bay Lightning), Forward
Grade: C+
Like his linemate Tikhonov, whit whom has a good click on the ice, commits a lot on defense and likes to be involved in both ends of the ice. He lacks some quality to be a constant threat on the ice.

Related Player Profiles: . V.Alexandrov V.Anikienko M.Chudinov A.Galimov S.Gimayev A.Gloukhov A.Kovalenko A.Loktionov A.Mikhnov A.Ryabev D.Semin V.Tikhonov I.Tkachenko Y.Trubachev S.Varlamov A.Yashin
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