Many fans know the feeling: you wait all summer for a preseason hockey tournament, and then there are suddenly three at once. In addition to the Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup and the Sochi Hockey Open, on Sunday the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Cup got underway in Astana. There was no doubting the game of the day, however, and it took place in the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi.
SKA vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk – 4-2 (2-1, 2-0, 0-1)
The tournament organizers kindly treated the fans to a repeat of the 2017 Gagarin Cup final, and the result was a repeat of the reigning champion's 4-2 victory over Kunlun in the previous game. Magnitka boss Ilya Vorobyov was in upbeat mood after the defeat, praising the Petersburg Men and pointing out that – in preseason games, at least - the stronger the opponent, the better. And Metallurg fans will be pleased that Sergei Mozyakin has recovered from his injury well enough to register a goal and an assist against the best team in the land.
Two wins out of two means SKA has won Group A, and boss Oleg Znarok said he would like to face the Russian Olympic team in the final.
Goals: 1-0 – Shirokov (Zub, Yakovlev, 09.23), 2-0 – Khokhlachyov (Kovalchuk, Rykov, 11.17), 2-1 – Mozyakin (Kosov, Kovar, 13.25), 3-1 – Rukavishnikov (23.44), 4-1 – Barabanov (Shirokov, Koskiranta, 24.13), 4-2 – Filippi (Schaus, Mozyakin, 47.30)
Goaltenders: Koskinen - Samsonov
HC Sochi vs. Team Canada – 0-1 OT (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Sochi suffered a second successive home defeat by a pre-Olympic outfit, this time a Team Canada whose roster boasts no fewer than 15 players from the KHL, and it was Kunlun Red Star's Jesse Blacker, assisted by Ak Bars danger man Justin Azevedo, who sealed the win in overtime.
New Sochi boss Sergei Zubov was defiant in defeat:
“It was a tough game, and we didn't have enough time to recuperate after the previous match against the Russian Olympic Team. Yes, we failed to score, but the way the guys are playing I'm sure the goals will come... and what could be a tougher test than consecutive games against Russia and Canada?”
Goals: 0-1 – Blacker (Azevedo, 61.36)
Goaltenders: Barulin – Peters
Meanwhile, in Astana, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Cup opened with three closely fought and high scoring games. The tournament runs from the 6th to the 12th, and the participating clubs are as follows:
Barys (Astana, Kazakhstan), Traktor (Chelyabinsk), Avangard (Omsk Region), Admiral (Vladivostok), Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) , Davos (Davos, Switzerland).
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) vs. Traktor (Chelyabinsk) 5-4 OT (1-0; 2-2; 1-2; 1-0)
Few could complain about the entertainment value in this encounter.
Head coach Andrei Nazarov's team twice built a two-goal winning margin, 2-0 and 4-2, and Anvar Gatiyatulin's men twice fought back to level, most dramatically when Kirill Koltsov made it 4-4 in the penultimate second of regulation, until eventually, Neftekhimik's American forward Dan Sexton had the last word.
Goals: 1-0 Zdunov (Yakimov, Shiksatdarov, 17-03), 2-0 Poryadin (Nestrasil, 24-13), 2-1 Yakutsenya (Sharov, Shinin, 30-05), 2-2 Szczechura (Videll, Bailen, 32-54, b.), 3-2 Avtsin (Poryadin, 34-38), 4-2 Sexton (Ganzl, 42-10), 4-3 Bailen (Vishnevsky, 42-38), 4-4 Koltsov (59-59, PPG), 5-4 Sexton (Sergeyev, Hanzl, 65-54).
Goaltenders: Yezhov — Francouz
Avangard (Omsk) vs. Admiral (Vladivostok) - 4-5 (2-2, 1-2, 1-0. 0-1)
The men from the Far East matched Traktor's exploits in fighting back from 0-2 to 2-2 but then surged into a 4-2 lead, only to see the men from Omsk show similar gritty determination to claw their way back to 4-4. The Vladivostok collective recovered to triumph in overtime, however, with defenseman Nikolai Glukhov scoring the golden goal.
Admiral head coach Alexander Andriyevsky:
”You get these high-scoring games every summer, when you have experimental line-ups and it's hard for the defensemen, but I'm glad our forwards are scoring and I'm happy with the performance..”
Goals: 1-0 Galimov (03.10.), 2-0 Martynov (Kugryshev, Fisenko, 04.10), 2-1 Gorshkov (Krasnoslobodtsev, Krikunenko, 05.23), 2-2 Voronin (Bartulis, 19.25), 2-3 Blum (Voronin, 30.26, b.), 2-4 Krasnoslobodtsev (Gorshkov, 30.44, b.), 3-4 Koshelev (Stas, Mikheev, 33.57, b.), 4-4 Kugryshev (Fisenko, Perezhogin, 48.49), 4-5 Glukhov (Tkachyov, 63.59).
Goaltenders: Furch — Bobkov
Barys (Astana) vs. HC Davos (Davos) 4-2 (1-1; 0-1; 2-0)
The men from the Kazakhstan capital twice fought back from a goal down against the plucky Swiss visitors, and the match could have gone either way until the dying minutes, when Artyom Likhotnikov finally gave Barys a go-ahead goal with a little over two minutes remaining, and Martin St.Pierre scored an empty netter just one second from the hooter.
Goals: 0-1 Little (Wieser 15.02), 1-1 Akolzin (Likhotnikov, 15.43), 1-2 Enzo (Little, Wieser 32.14), 2-2 Mikhaylis (Dietz, 40.42), 3-2 Likhotnikov (Maklyukov, Akolzin, 57.48), 4-2 St.Pierre (59.59, empty net).
Goaltenders: Karlsson - Pottelberghe
At the Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup, Ak Bars and host club Torpedo strengthened their positions as tournament leaders.
Ak Bars (Kazan) vs. Spartak (Moscow) – 2-1 OT (0-1, 0-0, 1-0, 1-0)
A marked improvement in form for the Muscovites, who took the lead and held onto it for more than half the game before Ak Bars gained superiority in the third period and then clinched victory in overtime.
Spartak head coach Vadim Yepanchintsev:
”I was pleased to see that when we were winning 1-0, we didn't sit back on our lead. We created several more chances, and gave our opponents very few opportunities to score. But you have to keep playing like this right to the end, and keep your concentration in every shift and in every playing moment. I hope this match will serve as a lesson to us, so that we won't make the same mistakes again. But overall, I'm happy with the way we performed against a top team.”
Goals: 0-1 Lajunen (Leshchenko, Pepelyayev, 10.26. PPG), 1-1 Lazarev (Svitov, Sidorov, 42.47), 2-1 Lukoyanov (Chibisov 61.32).
Goaltenders: Garipov – Svensson.
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) vs. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) – 4-3 (1-2, 1-1, 2-0)
The team from Nizhny Novgorod is another contender for the title of Comeback Kings, after bouncing back from 0-2 and 2-3 to seal a thrilling win against the men from Yekaterinburg. The latter seemed in control until the 46th minute, when Mikhail Smolin's speculative shot from a tight angle surprised goalie Jakub Kovar and somehow found the back of the net. The goal seemed to disrupt Avtomobilist's rhythm, and less than three minutes later, Yegor Dugin scored the decisive goal in a 5-on-3 power play.
Goals: 0-1 Pestunov (Cajkovsky ,Bodrov, 12.44, b.), 0-2 Megalinsky (Beck, 17.13, PPG), 1-2 Daugavins (Barantsev, 19-50, b), 2-2 Stolyarov (Grigoryev, Dugin, 24.24, PPG), 2-3 Obidin (33.17), 3-3 Smolin (45.49), 4-3 Dugin (Parshin, joiners, 50.37, b).
Goaltenders: Lisutin – Kovar