MARLBORO, MA - Junior Bruins 16U forward, Ilya Putintsev will join Team Russia on December 13thin preparation for the 2014 U17 Four Nations Cup in Ann Arbor, MI ending on December 20th.
This year, participating countries are Slovakia, Switzerland, USA & Russia. USA will enjoy home cooking, playing hosts at the US National Team Development Program headquarters in Ann Arbor. For Putintsev and Russia, the U17 team coaches will have a year and a half to get this group ready for the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championships. The Four Nations Cup will be a good measuring stick for the national teams participating.
Putintsev, a standout for the B’s this year, is off to a hot start with a team leading 63-18-81pts in 39 games. Putintsev also leads the USPHL-U16 Division in goals with 24 in 12 games. He is 4threspectively in points with games in hand.
Junior Bruins head coach, Topher Bevis, has seen Putintsev’s game for a while now: “Ilya is a unique player. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the ice. He has great hands and one of the quickest releases of the puck I’ve seen. If there is one thing he does well it’s just that, he can score.”
Putintsev’s 63 goal start is certainly evidence of that, and it’s certainly something Team Russia will look for at the National Team level. Bevis, a member of the 2003-2004 US National Team, knows Putintsev will learn a lot from the International Game:
“This is a great opportunity for elite players to see where they stack up. Each country has its own brand of hockey. Learning how to adapt, as well as impose your will on a team is what international hockey is all about. Ilya will certainly get a lot out of this experience.”
Putintsev has had to learn how to adapt to the North American game coming to the B’s last season. The smaller rink, the more physical up-tempo game has challenged him in a positive way. Coach Bevis says, “As soon as the puck is on his stick the entire momentum of the shift changes to the attack. He’s an offensive machine. From the tops of the circles down, he’s lights out. He brings a mentality toward scoring goals that is not always present in American players. In some instances, Ilya can be cold blooded in games. He’s always hungry for more.”
Ilya’s father, Anton, also spoke about his son coming to America, “Ilya was always a successful goal scorer in Russia, but I felt he needed to develop his foot speed and quicker decision making. In Russia the game is slower and the rinks are bigger. His time with the Bruins and coach Bevis has been great.”
For the Bruins, Putintsev has helped lead them to the Mass State Final Four for the 3rd year in a row. He has also helped push the B’s into 2nd place in the USPHL North Division, just two games behind the Syracuse Stars. Last year the B’s were in a similar race with Syracuse which came down to 1pt in the standings giving the Bruins the North Division Title. This season, Bevis will look to players like Putintsev, as well as top players Noah Strawn, Lucas Niezelski & Brendon Cordeiro to help lead his team down the stretch
“What’s great about this level,” Bevis adds, “is that there is so much growth and development throughout the season. I’ve already seen some of our youngest players make giant gains. Under-ager ’00 Cullen Young, and first year ’99 Mike Bermingham are now performing at elite levels. Elite 98’s like Strawn and Cordeiro up front, & Niezelski on the back end have elevated their game in the last few weeks and are now the pulse of our team. When you have a player like Ilya who can fit in with that group and provide the goal scoring ability, there is certainly enough there to be successful.”
Coach Bevis and the B’s will look for Putintsev and the Team to have continued success in the second half of the season and into the playoffs. The B’s, hold a 24-8-8-1 record heading into the winter portion of the year.
Team Russia Opens their 2014 U17 Four Nations Cup on December 16th, at 7pm vs. Team USA.