Last season Avangard made waves in the media as it invited a series of prominent figures from the worlds of sport and showbiz to its games. And the idea carried on into pre-season with the Great 8 himself arriving in Balashikha. He wasn’t just there to take in the action between Avangard and Dynamo; the Stanley Cup winner was also on hand to open a new academy in the Moscow Region town, ready to nurture the talents of local hockey players up to the age of 17.
Ovechkin, of course, could not escape without talking to the media and much of that conversation was about the prospect of him returning to the KHL. “Let’s see what’s coming,” the Washington Capitals forward said. “In 2021 my contract in Washington expires and I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m looking at a range of options. Everything will depend on my health. I follow the KHL closely online and I think the league is developing the right way. And I always keep in touch with Dynamo Moscow.”
There were more than 4,000 people in the Balashikha Arena as Ovi dropped the puck before this game – during working hours on the Thursday afternoon. They saw Dynamo take the lead in the first period when the Blue-and-Whites’ new first line combined for a power play goal: Vadim Shipachyov and Andre Petersson got the assists, Juuso Hietanen found the net.
However, the game was destined to be notable for penalties rather than goals: the teams shared 38 minutes in the box. Not surprisingly, then, the game-winner also came on the power play with Slava Voynov scoring early in the third to complete Avangard’s recovery. It was the defenseman’s first goal since March 2018 when he netted in the playoffs for SKA.
Avangard Omsk 2 Dynamo Moscow 1 (0-1, 1-0 ,1-0)
Goals: 0-1 Hietanen (Petersson, Shipachyov 7:48 PP); 1-1 Zernov (Shirokov 38:52); 2-1 Voynov (Beck 42:23 PP).
Goalies: Bobkov - Bocharov