Uralvagonzavod Hockey Team Completes 1st Round of League Championship

26 November 2012 (09:39)

November 26, 2012. Sputnik, the hockey team sponsored by Uralvagonzavod Scientific & Production Corporation, completed the first round of the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) in a series of three home games, the corporation’s press service reports.

The championship is now half-way through, and the Nizhniy Tagil team is now one of VHL leaders that tops the list of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Byelorussia’s 27 hockey teams.

Early in the 2012/2013 season, Sputnik has already won four non-home matches (two of the winning matches were with the current VHL champion and vice-champion teams). The Nizhniy Tagil team then had some of its less impressive experiences when it only won one out of six games, defeating the champion at the time, Orsk-based Yuzhny Ural. After dropping down to the 20th position, however, the team managed to pull itself together, win six matches in a row and make it to the top ten of the championship participants. At the moment, they score more points nearly every time, making their supporters, who occupy all the stands at the Ice Palace at the home games or stay glued to their computer monitors when Sputnik place at other venues, quite happy.

‘We do our best to win every time we have a game. There hasn’t been a single game when we’d say to ourselves, ‘Let’s lose tonight guys, let’s take a break!’ We intend to win every time we play, we hope for this, and this is what we work for,’ says Sputnik’s chief coach Alexei Fetisov.

The Nizhniy Tagil team’s great performance did not remain unheeded by the VHL. The opening match in Nizhniy Tagil was attended by the League Managing Director German Skoropupov, who commented on the team’s distinct style and great potential. A month later, Sputnik captain and today’s best striker Vitaly Zhilyakov were declared the League’s best forwards for one of the weeks in October. One of Sputnik’s most experienced players Anton Alekseyev was declared the VHL best full-back player in the whole month of October. An away match in Voronezh between Buran and Sputnik, where the former was defeated, was characterized by the League commentator as ‘the match of the week,’ while the team itself was called one of the season’s eye-openers.

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