The 11th edition of Riga’s pre-season tournament got underway with a match-up between two teams that made significant changes to their personnel over the summer. For Ak Bars, Dmitry Kvartalnov took the opportunity to check on the depth of his roster; Dinamo’s Craig Woodcroft named a strong line-up in hope of improving some disappointing summer form.
However, it was Ak Bars who looked more impressive. The Kazan team slightly outshot the opposition (31-29) and spent more time on the attack (11 minutes versus 10). But crucially, it put the game out of reach with a flurry of goals either side of the first intermission. Kristian Khenkel, a former Minsk player, picked up an assist early in the second frame as Artyom Mikheyev made the score 2-0; a minute later Kamil Fazylzyanov made it three.
Thus, Dinamo Minsk missed a chance to bounce back from the weekend’s losses in the Salei Cup. So far this summer, the Belarusian team has won just one game – and that against VHL newcomer Humo Tashkent.
Ak Bars Kazan 3 Dinamo Minsk 0 (1-0, 2-0, 0-0)
Goals: 1-0 Lyamkin (Lazarev, Fisenko 18:34 PP); 2-0 Mikheyev (Khenkel, Zaripov 24:05); 3-0 Fazylzyanov (25:05)
Goalies: Bilyalov – Osipkov
The evening game saw tournament host Dinamo Riga take on Avtomobilist. The visitor went without its imports, while Dinamo sent out a strong line-up.
Once again, Carter Ashton was a key figure. After impressing in the Sochi Hockey Open earlier this month, he potted two more goals here, finding the net late in each of the first two periods. One of the goals was at even strength, the other on the power play. Ben Marshall chipped in with a couple of assists.
Dinamo Riga 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)
Goals: 1-0 Ashton (Marshall, Ullstrom 18:56 PP); 2-0 Ashton (J Berglund, K Berglund 35:07); 3-0 Darzins (Redlihs, Marshall 56:50 PP).
Goalies: Gudlevskis - Gross
In the second game of its Czech camp, HC Sochi took on Energie from Karlovy Vary. Going into the game, Sergei Zubov’s team was one of just three KHL outfits not to lose in pre-season, a record shared with Traktor and Spartak. Energie had played two other KHL teams this summer, losing to Avtomobilist and Sibir.
The opening goal came midway through the first period through Matej Stritesky, but Sochi tied the game thanks to captain Sean Collins. That goal, early in the second stanza, came from assist by goalie Nikita Bogdanov. However, it wasn’t enough to save Sochi from its first defeat of the summer. The overtime winner went the way of the Czechs.
Energie Karlovy Vary 2 HC Sochi 1 OT (1-0, 0-1, 0-0, 1-0)
Goals: 1-0 Stritesky (Griger, Flek 8:23); 1-1 Collins (Bogdanov 21:15); 2-1 Skuhravy (Vondracek 63:19)
Goalies: Bednar – Bogdanov
Barys continued its spell in Switzerland with a game against Davos in Zuchville, a small community between Berne and Zurich. The encounter brought a debut for American forward Eric Tangradi, who played on the right of the second line alongside Nikita Mikhailis and Corban Knight. The first line for Barys comprised Adam Helewka, Dustin Boyd and Iiro Pakarinen.
Davos took the lead, but Anton Sagadeyev’s goal took the game to overtime. However, in the extras Magnus Nygren’s power play goal gave Davos the verdict.
Davos 2 Barys Nur-Sultan 1 OT (1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 1-0)
Goals: 1-0 Corvi (Ambuhl 4:48); 1-1 Sagadeyev (Yevdokimov 46:19); 2-1 Nygren (Corvi, Palushaj 61:13 PP)
Goalies: Aeschlimann – Karlsson