After a false start on Thursday, the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk finally got their season underway on Saturday. Capitals’ forward prospect Aliaksei Protas also made his KHL debut, centering the fourth line for Dinamo. He had no points in his debut. Protas and Dinamo held off a late rally by Barys to take home a 5-4 overtime win. Protas spoke with team officials following the game.
What do you think about the game?
“We started well, played according to our own system, as required by the coaching staff. In the third period, unnecessary relaxation and imposingness appeared. So it came to an unnecessary overtime. Winning is the most important thing.”
This your first game in the KHL. What can you say about the level?
“First of all, I would like to thank the fans for creating such an atmosphere, despite the difficult situation with the coronavirus. Playing in the second strongest league in the world has incredible emotions. We have a great team, a good team, everyone is fighting for each other. This is bringing results, and I hope we will continue to bring results. I’m glad we won the first game.”
Did the fact that the match did not take place on September 3 help? Barys was playing in Riga at that time.
“It was an unusual day, everyone was preparing for the game. And then such an unexpected turn. Of course I wanted to play then, because we were preparing for the start of the season for several weeks. But it turned out that the team did not arrive. An extra day of interruption hppnened. Perhaps this affected our freshness. After all, Barys played that day. The main thing is that we won.”
Ahead are tough opponents: Salavat Yulaev, Ak Bars. What do you need to do to get the maximum points?
“Discipline is important. Everyone should improve both on defense and on the attack. These teams are skilled. We have to show that we want to win more, fight on every play, give our best by 120%.”
There are a lot of young people in Dynamo now. Is the home world championship additional motivation?
“For me, the motivation is to play in every Dynamo Minsk game, to give all the best. Then the coaching staff of the national team will notice this and give me a chance. Of course, I want to play at the 2021 home World Cup with my fans.”
The Capitals announced on August 7 that Protas has been loaned to Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The loan is until the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL begin the 2020-21 season, which is currently set for December 4.
Dinamo’s next game is on Monday when they host Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
By Jon Sorensen