There’s no such thing as a dead rubber in Nizhny Novgorod, where both of today’s games went to shoot-outs even though the title was already won by Avtomobilist. In Astana, Neftekhimik and Barys shared nine goals, while Amur won 4-0 against Kazakhstan.
Spartak Moscow 3 Dinamo Riga 4 SO (1-1, 1-2, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Both sides named strong line-ups and produced an entertaining game, even though the outcome of the tournament had already been determined by Avtomobilist’s victory yesterday. Dinamo led three times in regulation, but Spartak always managed to find a way back into it. The Moscow team might even have won it when it got a 5-on-3 power play midway through the final period with the scores tied at 3-3. However, the Red-and-Whites could not seriously test Kristers Gudlevskis in the Dinamo net and the game went to a shoot-out. Lauris Darzins claimed the shoot-out winner as the Latvians finished on a high note.
“We’ll take a lot of positives from this tournament,” said Dinamo head coach Girts Ankipans. “The games were almost as competitive as a lot of championship games, so it was a good time to look at our players. We didn’t have any focus on winning the tournament, the main thing was to ensure that everyone understood what we expect from each line. We have a fairly young team and there were plenty of errors typical of this time of year, but overall I’m happy.”
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4 Dynamo Moscow 3 SO (1-0, 1-0, 1-3, 0-0, 1-0)
The second game of the day was no less entertaining, as Torpedo edged Dynamo Moscow in a shoot-out after another 3-3 tie. For the Blue-and-Whites, the game began with two goals from ex-players. Mikhail Varnakov opened the scoring and Denis Barantsev made it 2-0. Varnakov played in Moscow last season, while Barantsev began his career there.
Torpedo looked set to claim the win when it led 3-1 going into the last five minutes, but late goals from Miks Indrasis (shorthanded) and Andrei Alexeyev’s second of the night took the game to overtime. Denis Parshin eventually gave the host the verdict in the shoot-out and Torpedo can claim second place with victory tomorrow.
Varnakov said: “The game had the intensity of a championship game, but maybe not the quality. It’s hard to imagine either team will make the kind of errors we saw today once the season is underway. We made two mistakes in almost the same place and that cost us a win in regulation.”
Dynamo head coach Vladimir Vorobyov was fairly content with his team’s tournament. “We got a look at a lot of players,” he said. “Some worked for us, some not so much. You can see for yourself that we still have plenty to do. The Tarasov-Shipachyov-Kagarlitsky line is likely to stay together. We hope that we’ll see a lot more from them, but that depends on the players.”
Amur Khabarovsk 4 Kazakhstan 0 (1-0, 1-0, 2-0)
Amur’s young goalie Evgeny Alikin got his first shut-out for the club to seal a comfortable victory over the Kazakh national team. It was also a good day for Igor Rudenkov, who opened the scoring on the first power play of the game in the sixth minute, then added an assist as Ilya Berestennikov doubled the lead midway through the game. Pavel Turbin and Vyacheslav Ushenin added two late goals to complete a comfortable victory.
“After playing yesterday evening it wasn’t easy to prepare for this one,” said Amur head coach Nikolai Borshchevsky. “The guys had to play through it. Some things worked out, some things didn’t. We still have things to work on and we’re already looking at the next game.”
Barys Astana 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 6 (1-3, 2-0, 0-3)
This was a game of mixed fortunes. Barys struggled in the opening frame, rallied strongly to tie the game at 40 minutes then fell away in the final stanza as Neftekhimik scored two power play goals and added a third into the empty net.
The good news for the home team came from the continuing contribution of Andre Petersson. The Swedish forward had a goal and an assist here, with Curtis Valk also producing a helper and Nikita Mikhailis finding the net. As a new-look line for the club, it is making a promising start.
Defensively, things were not so good. Andrej Nestrasil scored twice for Neftekhimik, and the club’s new Finnish forwards Joonas Natinen and Mikael Ruohomaa was on target again.
“We got it all wrong in the first period,” said Barys head coach Andrei Skabelka. “If the offense was OK, we were awful at our end. In the second period we paid more attention on defense and managed to take our chances. But then in the third period the game was decided by the special teams. They scored on us with 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 power plays and we couldn’t do anything similar.”
Neftekhimik can secure victory in the tournament if it defeats Amur tomorrow. The other game pits Barys against the Kazakh national team.