Washington Capitals forward prospect Aliaksei Protas made his preseason debut with the KHL’s HC Dinamo Minsk on Saturday. The Bison faced HC Gomel, a member of the Belarusian Extraliga, who is located in the Belarussian city of Gomel. The Gomel team is also known as the Lynxes. Due to Covid-19 protocol, the game was played with no fans in the stands.
Protas was assigned as the center on the team’s second line, flanked by wingers Vladimir Alastrov and Ivan Drozdov.
The game did not start well for Dinamo as Alexander Korenov scored two goals for Gomel, one in the first period and the other in the second period.
But Protas, #21, scored Dinamo’s first goal six minutes into the third period. Protas redirected a between-the-legs feed from Vladimir Alastrov.
Alexander Kogalev followed with two goals, capping a come-from-behind 3-2 win for the Bisons.
The Washington Capitals announced last week that they loaned Protas to Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. It was first reported that Protas met with Dinamo Minsk back in mid July and was extended an offer, but he initially declined the offer.
We mentioned in a post published back in early June that there were rumors swirling in Belarus media that the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk was interested in signing Protas. At the time there was question as to if/when the 2020-2021 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) season would begin, or if it would ever happen at all. Like many other prospect players at the time, Protas began to consider his options, including the possibility of staying at home in Belarus to play for Dinamo Minsk.
In a recent interview with Hockey.by, Protas detailed his meeting with Dinamo Minsk officials and his decision to initially pass on an offer from the team and return to the Prince Albert Raiders for a third season.
However, the WHL announced earlier this week that it is now scheduled to open its 2020-21 Regular Season on Friday, December 4, 2020. Thus, the option to remain home and play for Dinamo may have become his best option for playing any hockey at all this fall. Protas will return to the Raiders whenever the WHL season begins.
Protas and Dinamo begin the regular season on September 3.
The box score can be found here.
By Diane Doyle