North Dakota is soon to be invaded by a Russian influence.
Alpena Street Cats’ forward Pavel Bocharov was recently invited to practice with the Minot Minotauros of the North American Hockey League where the team will take a long look at the stud Russian with an eye on possibly having Bocharov play for the team in 2014-15.
The NAHL roster freeze took effect Feb. 10, so Bocharov will not see game action this season.
Bocharov, an 18-year-old from Novokuznetsk, has earned this opportunity, according to Street Cats’ coach Igor Myaskovskiy.
“I am very proud of Pav,” Myaskovskiy said. “Many teams at higher levels have asked me about him and Minot was the right choice right now. He will go there to showcase his skills and if he plays the way he has with the Street Cats all year, I would expect the Minot coaches will be impressed.”
This year in Alpena, Bocharov has averaged better than two points per game with 27 goals and 38 assists for 65 points in 32 games. He was also named the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s Forward of the Week on Dec. 24 and Feb. 4.
“Pav has been one of our most consistent players this year,” added Myaskovskiy. “He is one of those players that make all the players around him better. He has a great attitude and is very well-liked by his teammates, as shown when the whole team went with him to the airport to wish him the best of luck on his next journey.
“Our first line was amazing all year and I’m sure all of them will have opportunities for next season. Of course, Pavel is a huge loss for our team, but we are all proud of him.”
The Minotauros are a third-year NAHL team and are currently 19-26-3 in the league’s Central Division.
The Midwest Junior Hockey League announced today that Savelii Skurikhin of the Alpena Street Cats is the 2013-14 Defenseman of the Year.
The award was voted on by the league’s head coaches.
During the regular season, Skurikhin led all league defensemen in scoring with 22 goals and 48 assists for 70 points in 38 games, also good for second in Street Cats’ team scoring and fourth overall in the MWJHL.
“Sava was one of our best defensemen,” said Alpena coach Igor Myaskovskiy. “His role on the team was big and his example was big for everyone. I’m appreciative for all he did for our team. Other teams in the league asked about him all season long, but he chose to stay in Alpena. I’m proud of him for being named Defenseman of the Year. Congratulations, Sava.”
Skurikhin, a 19-year-old native of Yekaterinburg, Russia, posted three hat tricks, 16 multi-point games this season, including two six-point games (three goals, three assists Dec. 22 vs. Michigan and six assists Feb. 2 at Berkley) and four five-point games. He also recorded seven power-play goals, ten power-play assists, one short-handed goal, six short-handed assists and two game-winning goals.
In addition, Skurikhin was named MWJHL Defenseman of the Week on Oct. 8 and helped lead the Street Cats to a 22-19-0-1 record this season.
“I’m very happy that I played this season in Alpena,” Skurikhin said. “It was a very important time for me. I felt I learned what it means to play American hockey. I played with very good teammates and we became a family for this time. I thank them for everything this season. I also want to thank all the coaches and management of the team who worked with me – with their help, I am who I am right now. I also want to thank the fans of Alpena – you are the best.”
Finishing out the year-end awards is the MWJHL Forward of the Year, which will be announced on Friday.
The Alpena Street Cats have injected some more local flavor into their lineup.
Starting with this weekend’s games at Northern Lights Arena against the Michigan Ice Dogs, Alpena natives Garret Bailey and Alexander Guzman will make their Midwest Junior Hockey League debuts with the Street Cats.
Both Bailey and Guzman played for Alpena High School from 2009-12
Guzman, a defenseman, was an assistant captain his senior year (2011-12), won the Coaches’ Award and was an Academic All-State selection.
“Alex is hard worker, very smart player and extremely skillful with a great sense of positioning for ‘D’ and a leader by nature,” said Street Cats’ coach Igor Myaskovskiy. “His style impressed me from the first time I saw him play and right away, I knew he was the type of player we want to have play for us. I waited a long time for Alex and I am excited to have him play for the Street Cats.”
Myaskovskiy added that Guzman is a quiet individual, but that doesn’t affect his game on the ice.
“Alex’s character in life and in hockey is the same,” said Myaskovskiy. “He doesn't speak too many words. Instead, he speaks with his good, creative actions.”
Bailey, a forward who was awarded Alpena High School’s Hobey Baker Award in 2012, as well as Wildcat of the Year, finished his high school career with 14 goals and 37 points.
”Garret is very skillful, very sharp with great starting speed, good vision of the ice and ready to shoot from anywhere on the ice,” Myaskovskiy said. “I’m really glad have both Garret and Alex on our team.”
Myaskovskiy added that to be able to sign two local products shows that the popularity of the Street Cats is growing.
“For me, signing Garret and Alex is proof and a sample of our popularity in town and shows that we are a team for this community,” he said.