Sunday’s program featured two matches, both involving teams in the Tarasov Division, in which the clubs meet each other six times during the regular season. Today’s games were the third encounters for both pairs.
Visitors prove stronger - again
The first two meetings between HC MVD and Severstal were both away victories, HC MVD winning in Cherepovets and then Severstal triumphant in Moscow Region, and today the tradition continued.
Few would have foreseen such an outcome early in the game, however. Before the first minute had ended HC MVD already had a two-goal lead, after Alexei Ugarov had opened the scoring on 46 seconds and Matt Ellison struck nine seconds later.
But then Severstal forward Viktor Tikhonov set to work. The grandson of the great CSKA and USSR national team coach Viktor Tikhonov left Severstal for Phoenix a year and a half ago, but was unable to break into the NHL team, and faced with performing for the farm team in the AHL he preferred a return to his home club, and in his very first match he scored two goals.
“I really missed Russia, and Russian hockey,” he said after the game, “I think two goals in my first game is a good start, but the main thing is not to drop the tempo. I found my feet quite easily, as the squad is practically the same as when I left. My grandfather was at the match, and I dedicate my goals to him!”
Before Tikhonov’s double, Nikolai Lemtyugov scored in powerplay, and in the third period Andrei Shefer again punished HC MVD for a dismissal, putting Severstal 4-2 in front. On 56 minutes Alexei Tsvetkov cut the deficit to one goal, but just four seconds before the siren Sergei Soin scored into an empty net, and Severstal triumphed 5-3.
“It was a good game, but we still have problems. In the last two matches we have conceded goals quickly. In our last game, we let SKA score three in 38 seconds,” - said Severstal head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov. “I tell the guys that you need to play for all sixty minutes, but today we played for fifty-eight and a half.”
Lokomotiv take the lead
HC MVD’s defeat allowed Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to move into first place in the Tarasov Division, although they only managed to take one point from the match at Atlant, losing 1-2 in the shoot-out. Despite the lack of goals, the fans were treated to a very lively encounter. This season Atlant have lost twice in Yaroslavl, 3-4 and 2-4, and were dreaming of revenge. The Moscow Region club looked very dangerous in attack, and the guests had to thank Georgy Gelashvili, last season’s top goaltender, for saving them several times. Georgy was finally beaten midway through the second period, when Nikolai Zherdev scored in powerplay.
But right at the start of the third period Zbynek Irgl levelled the score, and the match went to overtime - as has every other Atlant home game for the last five weeks. In that time, Atlant have never once lost after regulation time, either winning in overtime or the shoot-out, and today was no exception, Zherdev’s decisive penalty shot bringing victory to the hosts.