Ugra’s Andrei Ankudinov was absolutely levelled by a vicious, open-ice hit to the head this weekend in the KHL. Dinamo Riga defenseman Maris Jass caught a vulnerable Ankudinov with a hit while he was engaged with another player, leaving Ankudinov’s nose bloodied. Jass was given a major penalty and game misconduct.
Many times when it comes to checks to the head, plays develop and take place in such a flash that it’s hard to tell where the principle point of contact was and if a hit is worthy of discipline. That wasn’t the case in the KHL this weekend, as Dinamo Riga’s Maris Jass earned every single one of his 25 minutes in penalties.
In a contest against Khanty-Mansiysk, Ugra’s Andrei Ankudinov was cutting through the neutral zone while shielding the puck away from Dinamo’s Armands Berzins. With one hand out to ward off Berzins, Ankudinov had his head down and was leaning to drive back into the middle of the ice. That’s when Jass, who had just stepped off the bench, charged straight at Ankudinov and drilled him with a vicious open-ice hit:
While Jass doesn’t throw his elbow up or leave his feet to make the hit — he lifts off the ice after impact, not before — it’s the exact type of play that has made it necessary for stiff penalties for contact with the head. Ankudinov immediately grabbing his face and having what appears to be a broken nose only adds to the violence of the hit.
Ankudinov did return to the contest, but Jass, who was playing just his second shift of the game when he decked Ankudinov, finished the game with only 1:28 time on ice. Shockingly, however, it doesn’t appear any suspension has been handed down to Jass.