Andy Potts Andy Potts
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On Wednesday we learned the winners of three pre-season tournament. HC Sochi clinched victory in the Sochi Hockey Open with one day to spare, Spartak claimed the Mountfield Cup thanks to victory over Slovan but Kunlun Red Star’s reserve roster missed out in the Renaissance Cup final against Arizona State University. Barys thrashed Ak Bars at the start of the President of Kazakhstan Cup, while Uzbekistan’s new team took its bow at the Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup.

Sochi Hockey Open

Hellberg blanks Lokomotiv

After two straight losses, including a painful collapse from a 4-1 lead against Dinamo Riga, SKA needed a boost. Lokomotiv, meanwhile, still had hopes of winning the tournament. Craig MacTavish handed Alexander Lazushin the start in goal, but that faith was not rewarded. True, the goalie was not at fault for SKA’s opener but in the second period he allowed three goals as Loko went off the rails.

Photo: 07.08.19. Sochi Hockey Open. Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) - SKA (St.Petersburg)

Once again, SKA enjoyed good results from Vladimir Tkachyov and Jori Lehtera, a combination that impressed for four of the goals against Dinamo. Magnus Hellberg also caught the eye, securing the first shut-out in this year’s Sochi Hockey Open.

Craig MacTavish, head coach, Lokomotiv

We came up against a good, hungry opponent and on the day they were stronger than us. It’s a valuable lesson for us. We got a lot of useful information which I’ll be analysing with the rest of the staff. This was only our fourth game together, we need to generate more understanding.

Alexei Kudashov, head coach, SKA

We were better today, we got goals from all four lines and we didn’t concede. We did the things we planned before the game. Right now I’m not worried that Dmitry Kagarlitsky hasn’t got among the points. He’s come to a new team, he’s playing his part, nobody is panicking.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 0 SKA St. Petersburg 4 (0-1, 0-3, 0-0)

Goals: 0-1 Ketov (Rukavishnikov 7:09 SH); 0-2 Tkachyov (Lehtera 25:40); 0-3 Barabanov (Bengtsson 27:08); 0-4 Karpov (Kuzmenko, Rukavishnikov 31:58)

Goalies: Lazushin – Hellberg

Sochi wins trophy on home ice

HC Sochi continued its perfect form in its home tournament, securing the Sochi Hockey Open title for the first time in the competition’s history. Going into Wednesday’s game against winless Avangard, the host knew that victory would guarantee top spot and Sergei Zubov’s men made no mistake.

Photo: 07.08.19. Sochi Hockey Open. HC Sochi (Sochi) - Avangard (Omsk)

Avangard handed a debut to Swiss international Sven Andrighetto after he joined up with the team on Monday: he played on the first line with Denis Zernov and Taylor Beck. True, they didn’t have much impact on the game, but there are still three weeks of preparation ahead for Avangard. And other newcomers, on both sides, shaped the game. At the start of the third period Valentin Pyanov gave Avangard hope of saving the game, while Sochi’s Ilya Krikunov scored twice to pace the win. Another newbie, Malte Stromwall, had an excellent assist on Sochi’s second goal.

Thus, Sochi finished its home tournament with a 100% record, four wins from four games. Avangard, meanwhile, is still seeking its first victory here and needs to defeat SKA tomorrow if it is to escape finishing last.

HC Sochi 3 Avangard Omsk 1 (1-0, 1-0, 1-1)

Goals: 1-0 Krikunov (0:17); 2-0 Krikunov (Stromwall, Rosen 27:39); 2-1 Pyanov (Shirokov 42:30); 3-1 Alexandrov (Mosalyov, Altybarmakyan 55:45)

Goalies: Shikin – Bobkov

Sergei Zubov, head coach, HC Sochi

The guys were up for this game. We made a great start but in the end it was hard to get over the line, we were under a lot of pressure. We made more mistakes than in other games here. Dima Shikin kept us in it today. We’ve made a step forward in this tournament.

Bob Hartley, head coach, Avangard

My players had their best game of this tournament. We had great speed, we created a lot of chances but Shikin saved them on many occasions. On the flip side, we gave up the puck too often and that led to the goals that we allowed. Sven Andrighetto had his first game for Avangard today, even though originally we didn’t expect to see him here. At equal strength he did OK, unfortunately we didn’t get to see him on the power play.

   Team  P  W  OTW  OTL  L  F-A  Pts
 1.  HC Sochi      4  2  2  0  0  9-4  8
 2.  Russia 'B'    3      2     0  0  1  9-4        5    
 3.  Lokomotiv  4  2  0  0  2         7-11  4
 4.  Dinamo Riga  3  1  0  1  1  9-10  3
 5.  SKA  3  1  0  0  2  10-8  2
 6.  Avangard  3  0  0  0  3   5-10  0

President of Kazakhstan Cup

Macek makes a double

Nur-Sultan is celebrating the 10th anniversary edition of the President of Kazakhstan Cup, and the action started with Avtomobilist playing Neftekhimik. The Nizhnekamsk team is a regular guest to the competition, while Andrei Martemyanov’s team was making its first appearance here. Before the game, there was great interest in the situation around Pavel Datsyuk, still awaiting his Avto debut. After the game, Martemyanov had bad news for the fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the Magic Man: he won’t be involved in this tournament, even though he is training with the team.

Aside from Datsyuk, several of Avtomobilist’s leaders were rested. Ex-Barys man Nigel Dawes and former Neftekhimik forward Dan Sexton were both on the sidelines, as was goalie Jan Kovar. There were debuts for defensemen Maxim Berezin and Fyodor Belyakov, plus forwards Geoff Platt, Brooks Macek, Peter Holland and Evgeny Mozer.

Neftekhimik sent out its new signings in the first game. Konstantin Barulin was in goal, with the veteran Vitaly Atyushov alongside Maxim Ignatovich and Ziyat Paigin in a new-look defensive unit. Two new imports, Zack Mitchell and Matt White, made their debuts up front.

The first period was the most competitive. Paigin took a double minor and Nikita Tryamkin’s point shot beat Barulin for the opening goal. But it took just five minutes for Paigin to atone by setting up White for the tying goal. It wasn’t long before Holland put Avtomobilist in front and the Yekaterinburg team survived a 3-on-5 penalty kill. In the remainder of the game, Avto added three more unanswered goals with Macek scoring twice.

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 (2-01, 0-0, 3-0)

Goals: 1-0 Tryamkin (Holland, Belousov 4:18 PP); 1-1 White (Paigin 9:51); 2-1 Holland (Obidin, Platt 14:00); 3-1 Macek (Gurkin 40:52 PP); 4-1 Zakharov (Holland, Belousov 47:14); 5-1 Macek (52:07).

Goalies: Gross - Barulin

Andrei Martemyanov, head coach, Avtomobilist

I’m pleased to see our new guys scoring today. It was a typical summer game, lots of mistakes, especially in center ice. The final score doesn’t mean all that much, I’m more interested in the quality of our play. There were lots of things I liked: we coped with their pressing well, we kept control of the puck in the offensive zone. In the second period we spent a long time playing 3-on-5 and before the third we told the guys they needed to play differently. They did that, so as a coach I’m completely satisfied with that part of the game.

Everyone is waiting to see Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel is recovering from an operation and is ahead of schedule but, unfortunately, it will take time to be fit and it’s difficult to say when he’ll be ready. We hope to have him playing before the start of the championship. He definitely won’t be playing at this tournament but the sooner he recovers, the sooner he’ll play. Pavel is a professional and he knows perfectly well when he is able to play at full strength.

Today you left out Dawes, Sexton and Kovar. When will they be in action?

Probably in the next game. We brought six lines to Kazakhstan and we’re waiting on a couple from Russia ‘B’. But we trust our depth and several of our younger players did well today. We need that competition for places.

Vyacheslav Butsayev, head coach, Neftekhimik

It was a game of two halves. We didn’t start well but managed to get back into it. The second period, I liked how we played but unfortunately in the third we saw too many individual errors from our first line and that stopped us playing our game. But in games like this, the important thing is how the guys react, how they take on board our processes. This is a good tournament for us, we’ll work on those errors and prepare for the next game.

Brooks Macek, forward, Avtomobilist

Today was my first game with a club from the KHL and both teams looked good. It was a bit of a mixed bag, we were better in the first and third periods but they had the better of the second. Everything stemmed from mistakes and it could all have been different. Luckily we got the goal at the start of the third period and I felt that after the fourth goal the outcome was pretty clear.

Matt White, forward, Neftekhimik

We wasted too many of our chances and gave them too many. The third period was our worst, we need to learn from that. Most of the game went OK and we can take positives from that. I’m still adapting to a new place, getting use to a new system, sometimes I’m having problems with the language barrier. But that’s a short-term thing, I don’t think it will take long for things to start dropping into place.

The second game of the day saw host club Barys take on Ak Bars, with Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev watching on as guest of honor.

Barys handed debuts to four forwards, Adam Helewka, Corban Knight, Iiro Pakarinen and Arkady Shestakov, plus goalie Eddie Pasquale and rookie Batyrlan Muratov. Ak Bars, under new head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov, featured 12 newcomers including two ex-Barys forwards, Patrice Cormier and Matt Frattin.

Few expected a one-sided game but in the event Barys powered to a 6-1 victory. The first period brought three goals, included Helewka’s first for the club. Frattin scored against his former club, but Ak Bars was in trouble throughout. Three more goals in middle frame took the game away from Kvartalnov’s team. Darren Dietz, now captain of Barys, found the net and Muratov potted his first goal at this level as he looks to emerge from the Youth Hockey League.

Barys Nur-Sultan 6 Ak Bars Kazan 1 (3-1, 3-0, 0-0)

Goals: 1-0 Mikhailis (Boyd 6:39); 1-1 Frattin (Azevdo, Ozhiganov, 10:35 PP); 2-1 Panyukov (Knight, Petyukhov 15:32); 3-1 Helewka (Dietz, Corben 17:24 PP); 4-1 Boyd (Blacker, Knight 27:15); 5-1 Dietz (Pakarinen 30:14 PP); 6-1 Muratov (Sagadeyev 36:47).

Goalies: Pasquale – Riederborn (Misbakhov)

Mountfield Cup

Spartak secures the trophy

Spartak’s last game in Hradec Kralove saw the Red-and-Whites take on former KHL team Slovan Bratislava knowing that victory would clinch victory in the tournament.

Once again, Spartak’s coaching staff made extensive changes to the roster as Oleg Znarok and his colleagues continue to search for the strongest line-up, the club’s press service writes. The first period was lively, with the teams trading goals inside the first six minutes. Maxim Tsyplakov got Spartak’s goal, converting Vyacheslav Leshchenko’s timely pass from behind the net. The Red-and-Whites had the bulk of the play but looked shaky on defense. That led to Slovan taking the lead in the 15th minute after an error by Alexander Kutuzov at his own net. Anatoly Nikontsev tied the scores late in the frame when he converted a penalty shot that he won himself.

Spartak’s problems weren’t limited to unforced errors; they also took rather more penalties than necessary. By the 27th minute, the Red-and-Whites had four penalties, two of which were converted by Slovan. Spartak’s own power play looked rather sharper in this game, although there is still work to be done.

There was a long delay late in the second period when Maxim Goncharov collided with Sevcik at high speed and left the young Slovak forward crumpled on the ice. Even after he was helped to locker room by the team medics, it still took time to clear the blood from the ice. Goncharov was also sent for an early shower by the officials.

The third session was less fraught for Spartak. Kaspars Daugavins’ power play goal tied the game in the 48th minute before Zakhar Shabolovsky pounced on a defensive error to put Spartak back in front. Martins Karsums scored into the empty net to wrap up the victory and complete the tournament with three wins from three games. The meter-high cup was only briefly in the team’s possession; it remains in Hradec Kralove once the celebratory photographs are done.

Spartak Moscow 5 Slovan Bratislava 3 (2-2, 0-1, 3-0)

Goals: 0-1 Pulis (4:39 PP); 1-1 Tsyplakov (Leshchenko 5:43); 1-2 Bobal (14:52); 2-2 Nikontsev (19:19 penalty shot); 2-3 Meszaros (27:43 PP); 3-3 Daugavins (Hanzl 47:32 PP); 4-3 Shabolovsky (Kutuzov 51:15); 5-3 Karsums (Hanzl 59:54 empty net).

Goalies: Bespalov - Gabal

Renaissance Cup

Kunlun loses out in final

The KRS Select roster that has represented Kunlun Red Star throughout the Renaissance Cup missed out on lifting the big prize in Beijing. The host team battled through to the tournament final despite relying almost exclusively on players on two-way contracts, most of whom are likely to play in the VHL in the coming season. It was intended as a test for many of the Chinese and Chinese-heritage players within the organization and the final offered a chance to avenge an opening day loss at the hands of Arizona State University.

However, it didn’t work out that way: the students scored two unanswered goals in the first period and never looked back as they returned to America with the trophy. Red Star jets off to Chelyabinsk today for its next pre-season tournament – and will be using a very different roster with far more KHL experience in the Chelyabinsk Governor’s Cup.

Kunlun Red Star 1 Arizona State University 6 (0-2, 1-2, 0-2)

KRS goal: 1-2 Magee (Walchak 29:30)

Goalie: O’Brien (Sun Zehao)

Nizhny Novgorod Governor’s Cup

The opening game of this tournament saw Humo make its first appearance on the ice. The Tashkent team will bring VHL hockey to Uzbekistan in the coming season and its first test came here against Dinamo Minsk.

The Belarusians arrived without their foreign legion: only Francis Pare was available for this game, with the other imports joining on the team’s return from Nizhny Novgorod. Instead, this was a chance for fringe players to stake their case.

Artyom Demkov was the first to show. This is already his third attempt to crack the KHL and he earned his chance after top scoring for team Belarus in last season’s international action. In the fifth minute, his power play goal gave Dinamo the lead but Humo quickly tied it up and the first period finished 1-1. Two goals late in the second period finally broke the Uzbek resistance as Dmitry Znakharenko and Alexander Pavlovich put Dinamo in charge. In the third, Ilya Litvinov added a fifth before Demkov got his second of the game as the Belarusians eased to a 6-3 win.

Humo Tashkent 3 Dinamo Minsk 6 (1-1, 1-3, 1-2)

Goals: 0-1 Demkov (Denisov, Pare 4:12 PP); 1-1 Merezhko (Pepelyayev 7:11 PP); 1-2 Pavlovich (Volkov 26:16); 2-2 Shcherbina (Tatalin, Valuisky 34:40); 2-3 Znakharenko (37:07); 2-4 Pavlovich (39:56); 3-4 Shcherbina (50:33); 3-5 Litvinov (Denisov 50:54); Demkov (Dostanko, Pare 51:25)

Goalies: Smiryagin – Osipkov

Dynamo gets revenge

The second game of the day was a repeat of the friendly at the weekend between Torpedo and Dynamo Moscow. The opening encounter went to the host but this return engagement saw the Muscovites get revenge. Both teams were missing players on international duty with Russia ‘B’ in Sochi, and Torpedo was limited to two imports: Jordan Schroeder and Anders Lindback.

Photo: 07.08.19. Nizhny Novgorod Region Governor`s Cup. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Vadim Shipachyov spurned a great chance to put Dynamo ahead early on when he tried one trick too many after an error from Denis Barantsev. However, the Blue-and-Whites took the lead late in the first period when Vladislav Mikhailov opened the scoring. The 35thminute was full of incident. First, Torpedo tied the scores but almost immediately Dynamo got a power play and Shipachyov set up Andre Petersson to restore the lead. Vladislav Yefremov increased Dynamo’s lead late in the middle frame after another defensive lapse and Anton Shenfeld’s last-minute goal was too late to affect the outcome.

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Dynamo Moscow 3 (0-1, 1-2, 1-0)

Goals: 0-1 Mikhailov (Muranov 19:32); 1-1 Goncharuk (Alyayev, Bocharov 34:09); 1-2 Petersson (Shipachyov 34:57 PP); 1-3 Yefremov (Moiseyev 38:28); 2-3 Shenfeld (Goncharuk, Bocharov 59:43)

Goalies: Lindback - Bocharov

Exhibition games

Yesterday’s match-up between CSKA and Admiral ended with the defending champ celebrating a 3-1 victory. One day later, the teams produced the same scoreline at the CSKA Arena.

Photo: 07.08.19. Friendly match. CSKA (Moscow) - Admiral (Vladivostok)

As before, the Army Men rested many of their star players. The only change to the roster came in goal, where Lars Johansson stepped in.

In the early part of the game CSKA took a string of penalties but it wasn’t until early in the second period that Admiral was able to take advantage. A flurry of shots on Johansson’s net led to Vasily Streltsov picking up a loose puck on the slot and steering it into the net. Two quick goals late in the middle frame turned the game around, though, with Alexander Popov setting up Andrei Svetlakov for the equalizer before Mat Robinson’s feed from the face-off circle dropped kindly for Anton Slepyshev to score. Maxim Mamin wrapped it up in the 53rdminute.

CSKA Moscow 3 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (0-0, 2-1, 1-0)

Goals: 0-1 V Streltsov (25:09 PP); 1-1 Svetlakov (Tolchinsky, Popov 32:36); 2-1 Slepyshev (Okulov, Robinson 34:44); 3-1 Mamin (Robinson, Vey 52:28 PP)

Goalies: Johansson – Olkinuora

Igor Nikitin, head coach, CSKA

Playing back-to-back games meant that both teams were feeling the strain. Everyone was tired and maybe there were fewer emotions in the game. In the first period we took a lot of penalties, I think the refs are focussing on the new rules and want to show the guys how it’s going to work. After these games, everyone will stay with the squad when we fly to our next camp in Switzerland.

Anton Slepyshev, forward, CSKA

It’s hard to assess that game. We practiced for three weeks and we really wanted to get out and play. We took a lot of penalties; I think that was because we missed hockey so much. We should have started the game much better. It’s disappointing that we only scored once on the power play, we need to work on that.

Kirill Dyakov, defenseman, Admiral

There are only good things for us in this game. In the first period we had plenty of chances on the power play but couldn’t score. I think that’s because up to now we’ve not really worked on our special teams, we’ve focussed on getting into shape. Working on the power play is part of our next preparations. And, of course, CSKA punished us for our mistakes.

Jokerit shoots down Sibir

After defeating HPK in a shoot-out yesterday, Sibir continued against Finnish opposition with a game against KHL rival Jokerit. The Siberians have a strong finish accent: goalie Harri Sateri and first liners Puustinen, Ruohomaa and Peltola meant that when the puck dropped the two teams had an equal number of Finns on the ice.

Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamaki rested Antti Niemi and gave Janis Kalnins the start. The game was entertaining: Jokerit went 2-0 up with a pair of power play goals, but Sibir responded to lead 3-2 in the 36th minute helped by two PP goals of its own. The Finns hit back hard, however, edging in front 4-3 by the end of the second period and holding that lead to the end.

Sibir Novosibirsk 3 Jokerit Helsinki 4 (0-2, 3-2, 0-0)

Goals: 0-1 Haalala (Grant 8:19 PP); 0-2 Lehtonen (Kontiola 10:28 PP); 1-2 Timashov (21:43); 2-2 Sayustov 29:04 PP); 3-2 Milovzorov (35:15 PP); 3-3 Kontiola (34:38); 3-4 Joensuu (Lehtonen, Torpstrom 38:01).

Goalies: Sateri - Kalnins

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