Aliaksei Protas Scores Goal And Shootout Game Winner: “I Will Prove In Every Game For Dynamo Minsk And In training that I Deserve To Get Into The NHL”

Washington Capitals forward prospect Aliaksei Protas came up big today for his KHL team, Dinamo Minsk. Protas would score a goal in the first period and a shootout goal for the game winner in Dinamo Minsk’s 3-2 shootout win over Jokerit.

Protas was elevated from the fourth line to the second line in today’s tilt against Jokerit. He would start the scoring late in the first period.

The game would remain tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. Protas would shoot first for Dinamo Minsk in the shootout. He would ultimately record the game-winner.

Protas said after the game he was a bit surprised he was called first for the shootout.

”A little surprised! But, I remember, they gave me a chance somehow. In addition, I tried to work on this component in training, because I knew that they could give one more opportunity … I was a little worried before the shot, but then I went out and tried to execute the way I did in training, that’s why it turned out to score.”

Dinamo Minsk head coach Craig Woodcroft had high praise for the 20-year-old following the game.

“As we said earlier at the press conference, this season is the first for Alexei in adult hockey, and he plays very well and confidently. Knows what he needs to do both in defense and attack, and also rarely makes mistakes. Acting alongside such masters as Rob Klinkhammer and Brandon Kozun, Alexey gets the opportunity to develop much faster and show his strengths: he can give a good pass, open up for the pass, be in the right place and complete the attack. In general, we are watching the process of Protas becoming a player.”

Woodcroft also explained why he decided to go with Protas first in the shootout.

“I felt that Alexey was confident in himself, and gave him the opportunity to execute the  shot. But, you know, I do not think that the order of entering the shootout could somehow affect him.”

Protas said after the game that he appreciates the coaches trust, and that he remains focused on making it to the NHL.

“Once it was a dream for me just to be on the lists in the NHL draft. And now, with every next step in development, I understand that the trust of the coaches is a pleasant bonus in work … The goal has not yet been achieved, so we must continue to work hard,’ said Protas.

“Yes, I was entrusted to play on the second line of the KHL team, and so I have already played several games, as well as a segment of the meeting with Dynamo Moscow. I try to establish myself in this role, to help partners. I work at the maximum, since the goal is still far away. I will prove in every game for Dynamo Minsk and in training that I deserve to get into the NHL.”

Protas was recognized by his teammates as the player of the game against Jokerit.

“Only positive emotions! I am glad that I helped the team to score two points. Every match for us now is a war: we go out, fight for victory. There are two very important home games ahead. Well, let’s get ready.”

The Capitals announced on August 7 that they had loaned forward prospect Aliaksei Protas to Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.

Protas now has nine goals and seven assists in 54 games played for Dinamo Minsk this season. The KHL wraps up its regular season at the end of this month.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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