Yunost is back!

Yunost is back!

Davide Tuniz04 Apr 2016Davide Tuniz»

After four seasons the most successful team of Belarus regaining the title


Yunost Minsk is the most successful team of Belarus, with domestic - 7 Championships and 5 National Cups - and international titles - 2 Continental Cup - but the last Extraliga dates back to 2012. Meantime the title travelled to Zhoblin, Grodno (twice) and Soligorsk, before to land back in Minsk this season. After dominating the regular season, Yunost ruled Khimik Novopolotsk (4-0), Neman Grodno (4-1) and defending champion Shakthar Soligorsk (4-1) in the playoffs. The final series was all hard fought as the results proved: 2-0, 2-1ot, 0-1 2-1, 4-3 with the last game played in front of 8.700 spectators, an unusual number for Yunost, normally playing with 300-400 fans in the stands. Among them, a special fan: Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has congratulated the champions after the game: "Throughout the season, you have proved to act as a cohesive team, ready to fight shoulder to shoulder for each other on the ice and beyond, fighting for the title and honor of the club. That's what the fans love and the opponents respect, you are a model for the rising generation of young hockey players"- reported the Belarus Presidential Press Service. Mr. Lukashenko met for a long time in the locker room with the coach Mikhail Zakharov, with whom he has a personal friendship relationship for a long time; according to rumours, to discuss the possibility for Yunost to join KHL. In the 2012-2013 season Yunost had a brief stint in VHL, with disastrous results. All the titles of Yunost has the brand of controversial, but winning, coach Mikhail Zakharov: also after the last game he refused to meet the media in the press conference, sending the goalies' coach Yuri Ivashin: "Both teams played a good hockey, but if you won the series 4:1, it means you are stronger. It is a merit of every hockey player, and all the coaching staff. The guys understand that the series should end here and fight to do this" - said Ivashin -  I think that in some moments tactically we were also stronger than Shakhtar: we know they have a great power play unit, and our penalty killing did a great job playing aggressively."

Soligorsk coach Andrei Gusov tries to understand what didn't work on ice: "In the locker room, I asked the players the same question. If we would have had a whole series as played in the final third, the result would have been different. It is difficult to answer this question. We prepared well also this game, as you have seen in the third period, when we not let the opponent coming out of the zone. Maybe not all the guys played as required." Silver medallist coach reflects on what has changed in the last 12 months: last april Soligorsk had become champion for the first time defeating same Yunost in the finals: "Many things changed in one year: Yunost did a great work, you see as the game style and the participation of all grown. Players like Kristian Khenkel and Roman Dyukov were rookies last year, they are now  candidates for the national team, leaders of the defense of  Yunost. The club signed top players. In the same way as we did last year. We, conversely, have become much weaker, many players gone, a leader as Pavel Chernook is now in Yunost. When a player won a title, thus come a lot of offers. We have been unable to offer adequate economic counterproposals to these players and we did not work adequately to replace the departed ones.Many players individually regressed."

Yunost Ukranian forward Andrei Mikhnov finally can celebrate a title: "I'm the happiest man in the world, probably!" said with smile from ear to ear

With the title Yunost earns also a spot in Champions Hockey League, while Shakhtar will compete, as in the previous season, in Continental Cup

According to website, the awards for best players in the playoffs go to:

Best Goalkeeper: Alexander Tryanichev (Yunost Minsk)

Best Defender: Konstantin Durnov (Shakhtar Soligorsk)

Best Forward: Viktor Andrushchenko (Shakhtar Soligorsk)

Best Young Player: Roman Dyukov (Yunost Minsk)

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