Richard Delacy,
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Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup

Dates: 1 - 7 August

Participants: Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod), Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg), Ak Bars (Kazan), Salavat Yulaev (Ufa), Metallurg (Novokuznetsk), and Spartak (Moscow).

Tuesday saw the start of the traditional preseason tournament, Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup , which this year features Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod), Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg), Ak Bars (Kazan), Salavat Yulaev (Ufa), Metallurg (Novokuznetsk), and Spartak (Moscow), and runs for six days, finishing on Monday,

Ak Bars Kazan vs. Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg- 4-3 (1-1, 2-1, 0-1, 1-0)

The opening match was between Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's Ak Bars and Vladimir Krikunov's Avtomobilist, and both sides produced a close and entertaining contest.

Preseason rosters can often take on a strange appearance, as coaches try to find the ideal slots for their new arrivals, but Avtomobilist was forced into further changes when thieves broke into the locker room and made off with some of the players jerseys, sticks and other kit, but the Yekaterinburg Men coped admirably and surged into a 3rd-minute lead with a goal in powerplay from Evgeny Chesalin. Soon the tables were turned, the Kazan Men had the man advantage, and they leveled before the five-minute mark through Anton Lander. Honors remained even until the second period, when Ak Bars scored twice in rapid succession, through a quickfire double from Alexander Svitov (23.14) and a powerplay goal by Jiri Sekac (25.57) to take a 3-1 lead, but then came another twist in the plot: Francis Pare's short-handed goal in the 36th minute brought Avto back within touching distance of parity, and with just seven minutes remaining, the powerplay unit ruthlessly punished another Ak Bars penalty when Kirill Lyamin's almighty strike from distance beat goalie Timur Bilyalov.

This brought the game to overtime, through which the teams remained deadlocked for 4 minutes and 52 seconds. Last season, any sentence with “killer goal,” “dying seconds,” and “ruthless finishing,” would usually describe the exploits of Ak Bars danger man Justin Azevedo, and it was he who beat Yekaterinburg goalie Jakub Kovar to give the Kazan Men a victorious start to the tournament.

Spartak Moscow vs. Metallurg Novokuznetsk: 5-1 (1-0, 3-1, 1-0).

The other two games were a little more one-sided Vadim Yepanchintsev's Spartak posted an impressive win over Novokuznetsk...

1-0 Viktor Bobrov (Alexander Komaristy, 12.26),
2-0 Igor Mirnov (26.10),
2-1 Korostin (Skutar, 28.47),
3-1 Vladislav Provolnev (Nikita Li, 29.07),
4-1 Vyacheslav Leshchenko (Alexei Pepelyayev, 36.18),
5-1 Ben Maxwell (Igor Mirnov, 52.11, PPG).

Goaltenders: Denis Sinyagin – Ivan Kasutin.

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod vs. Salavat Yulaev Ufa 0-3 (0-1, 0-0, 0-2)

...and Torpedo boss Peteris Skudra was given plenty of food for thought after the hosts were shut out by the the Ufa Men under new head coach Erkka Westerlund.

0-1 Maxim Goncharov (Ilya Zubov, 3.53, PPG),
0-2 Teemu Hartikainen (Philip Larsen, 47.21, PPG),
0-3 Denis Kulyash (58.09, SHG, empty net).

Goaltenders: Stanislav Galimov – Ben Scrivens

Preseason friendlies:

Vityaz Moscow Region vs. Italy: 5-0 (1-0, 4-0, 0-0)

Vityaz Moscow Region Head coach Valery Belov 's men from Moscow Region attracted plaudits from far and wide with their surge into the playoffs last season, and in Brixen, Italy, they continued their impressive summer form with a resounding triumph over the Italian national team.

1-0 Dmitry Semin (Roman Horak, Maxim Afinogenov),
2-0 Alexei Makeyev (Alexei Semyonov, Vojtech Mozik),
3-0 Maxim Afinogenov,
4-0 Alexei Kopeikin (Niclas Burstrom, Dmitry Semin),
5-0 Roman Horak (Alexei Kopeikin, Alexander Pankov).

Lada Togliatti vs. SKA-Neva (Saint Petersburg): 3-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0)

Finally, in Finland, Artis Abols's Lada fought back from a goal down to defeat VHL side SKA Neva

Lada's goals:

1-1 Georgy Belousov, 2-1 Kristaps Sotnieks, 3-1 Semyon Valuisky.

Richard Delacy,
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Related clubs

Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Lada (Togliatti) Lada (Togliatti)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
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