Street Cats score early and often in home rout
News Sports Editor
The Alpena Street Cats got back into the win column with a flourish on Friday.
Andrei Yanovich scored a hat trick and Pavel Bocharov and Vladislav Khasanov each scored twice as the Street Cats topped Berkley10-4 at Northern Lights Arena to break a two-game losing streak.
Alpena (14-13) was on fire offensively from the opening puck drop and picked up two crucial points to increase its fourth-place standing in the Midwest Junior Hockey League.
Alpena has 31 points, three ahead of the Bloomington Jr. Blaze.
“(This weekend) extremely important, it’s crucial we walk away this weekend with six points and that’s our goal this weekend, so this is a good start,” Alpena assistant coach Lori Seguin said.
The Street Cats held a 4-1 lead after one period and netted five unanswered goals in the middle frame after an early goal from the Bruins. Yanovich scored at 5:14 and Bocharov followed with a goal at 6:08.
Alpena outshot the Bruins 44-39, averaging a goal nearly every 4 1/2 shots and had several near misses and hit some posts that could’ve broken the game open further.
Yanovich completed his hat trick on the power-play at the 9:02 mark in the second period and Edgar Kharlamov followed with a goal at 9:54 after he picked up a loose puck, skated in on Bruins goalie Hunter Myers and beat him with a backhand. The goal gave Alpena an 8-2 lead.
“We’ve really been working on those 3-on-2 plays and 2-on-1 plays and as you can see it really helped us out in the second period,” Alpena assistant coach Eric Peterson said.
Khasanov gave Alpena a 9-2 lead at 14:09 when he beat Myers top shelf. He scored again early in the third period.
Yanovich added four assists to go with his hat trick and Khasanov and Bocharov had three each.
Berkley finally found the back of the net with 8:50 left in the game when Vaughn Clouston scored. Colton James netted the Bruins’ final tally with 30 seconds left.
Alpena goaltender Vlad Graevski made 35 saves, including several sprawling stops, but Alpena’s coaches said the Street Cats’ defense must improve.
“We had a little offensive spree, but our defense wasn’t that good,” Peterson said.
Alpena got off to a fast start in the first period, scoring three times on its first eight shots. Bocharov took a pass and beat Myers top shelf at 4:15 and Yanovich (6:06) and Kam Russell (9:27) also scored to give Alpena a 3-0 lead.
Shane Zigman finally put Berkley on the board with 2:02 remaining but Alpena answered back with 35 seconds left when Savelii Skurkhin scored from the slot.
Alpena hosts Berkley tonight at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.