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Ufa’s first trophy

05.03.2010

Result of the day
Salavat Yulaev - Dinamo Minsk 4-1. Salavat Yulaev are now the holders of the second trophy to be awarded this season. In the opening match, we saw Ak Bars defeat Lokomotiv and take the Opening Cup and now the Bashkirian club can find a place on their shelf for the Continental Cup. A surprise? Only partially. Most, if not all, would agree the club has the best strength in depth in all the league; even their fourth line can decide the outcome of a game. The only possible problems for Ufa is that the coach has been away with the national team, for both the Euro tour and preparations for the Olympics, and maybe this will take its toll in the play-offs. Or maybe they will just shrug this off and keep on playing like this.

We can be sure of one thing - winning this trophy in itself means nothing. Indeed, last season the regular championship was also won by the men from Ufa, and their season ended in the first round of the play-offs.

37 players
When they sent Ignat Zemchenko out onto the ice, the Severstal coaches brought their tally of players used in officialgames to 37. The Cherepovets club has used 4 goaltenders and 10 defensemen. Their 23 forwards have shared 116 goals of the team’s 148, although 6 attackers and 4 defenders are still yet to score.

First dismissal
Alexander Nikulin set a KHL record by going 40 games in a row without receiving a single penalty, and the forward played on average almost 16 minutes during this spell. No other player in the current championship even comes close; the next best record belongs to Vladimir Vorobyev, unpunished in 20 straight games. But Nikulin finally ended his run in the meeting with Sibir, earning himself a two-minute penalty for tripping.

5 from 13
This season Torpedo have replaced the goaltender with a sixth skater on 13 occasions, but five of these resulted in a goal conceded, giving them the fifth highest percentage in the League. In the current championship the Nizhny Novgorod side has now played with their net unguarded for more than 9 minutes in total.

Getting better
Vityaz have now won six times after conceding the first goal. Alexei Yarushkin’s team have handed their opponents an early advantage on 33 occasions, although today’s opposition, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, are one of the worst performers in the country when it comes to holding onto a lead. They have gone in front in 25 matches and lost 12 of them. Only Traktor and Lada have worse records.

Matching the club record
Norwegian forward Patrick Thoresen (pictured) scored his third consecutive winning goal, and equals the club record in the KHL set last season by Alexei Tereshchenko. Patrick has now brought his team victory six times, although Igor Grigorenko is still the club leader, having struck 8 game-winners.

Spartak’s eighth goal
Stefan Ruzicka claimed Spartak’s eighth short-handed goal of the season, putting them just behind the leaders, Dynamo Moscow, who have nine. Ruzicka’s victims were none other than Lada, who else? The Togliatti men have now let in 8 goals in powerplay - only Barys and Metallurg Novokuznetsk have conceded more.

Deadly Dinamo Riga
Dinamo Riga players have now scored nine times into an empty net, increasing the KHL record with each strike. In the first championship Spartak made their opponents regret taking such a risk on 7 occasions. Curiously, this season the Latvians have scored two such goals against the Red-and-Whites, moreover in the same game.

Determined Dynamo Moscow
Dynamo Moscow have the best record in the KHL for fighting back to win from two goals down, a talent which may serve them well in the play-offs. Dinamo Riga have managed four such comebacks, while for Avangard it is the second time this season they collapsed after holding a two-goal lead.

Ivan the 33rd
Neftekhimik goaltender Ivan Kasutin has become the 33rd goalie this season to keep a clean sheet, and it is his third in the KHL. Interestingly, it is the first time all season that Vladimir Krikunov’s team have kept their opponents at bay for an entire game, leaving Severstal as the only club in the KHL that has conceded in every game.

Sixth defeat
HC MVD have now lost in the shoot-out six times and are the only team still yet to celebrate clinching victory after 65 minutes, and they are one defeat away from matching the worst record ever in the KHL, which belongs to Khimik.

Figures of the day
44 shots at the Amur goal from the Torpedo players, and also at the Dinamo Riga goal by Barys.

10 shots at goal by Metallurg Magnitogorsk attacker Jan Marek and Barys forward Konstantin Glazachev.

28 minutes 21 seconds spent in play by HC MVD attacker Matt Ellison.

84.2% of 19 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Jarkko Immonen.

Key players
Ivan Kasutin (Neftekhimik). Saved all 35 shots in the game against Lokomotiv.

Denis Grot (Avtomobilist). Scored a goal and finished with an efficiency rating of +1.

Viktor Kostyuchenok (Spartak). Featured in a scoring move and earned a rating of +3.

Vyacheslav Kulemin (CSKA). Added a goal and two assists to his account during his 10 minutes 48 seconds on the ice.

Patrick Thoresen (Salavat Yulaev). Scored the goal that brought his team victory and the Continental Cup, and also made an assist.

Mikelis Redlihs (Dinamo Riga). Struck one goal, made two assists, finished at a +1 and spent 15 minutes 27 seconds in play.

Quotes
“After the game Georgy Gelashvili announced that he’d broken his finger, and he was taken to hospital,” - Lokomotiv head coach Petr Vorobyev.

“It’s a long time since I saw as many chances in a game as we created today,” - Torpedo head coach Evgeny Popikhin.

“We can take one positive from today: we didn’t concede in the third period, when playing 3 on 5 and overall playing short-handed,” - Dinamo Minsk head coach Alexander Andrievsky.

“It will be tough for us in the play-offs if we play like that,” - Dinamo Riga head coach Julius Supler.

“There’s been a lot of negativity surrounding us recently,” - Salavat Yulaev (and Russia) head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.

Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru