Jokerit and Severstal were the first teams to try out St. Petersburg’s new, NHL-sized ice pad in a serious game. Surprisingly, the Finns decided not to use new signing Antti Niemi in goal – despite his huge experience in North America, including a Stanley Cup win in 2010, he was rested to allow Janis Kalnins the start.
The Latvian let nobody down, however. Indeed, Jokerit’s narrow victory owed much to the ex-Dinamo Riga man’s fine performance. The Finns got ahead with a power play goal from Niklas Jensen late in the first period before the teams traded quick goals in the middle frame. Ansel Galimov, who not long ago was posting half-joking ‘come and get me!’ pleas on Instagram, got Severstal’s goal but could not save his new employer from defeat.
Jokerit Helsinki 2 Severstal Cherepovets 1 (1-0, 1-1, 0-0)
Goals: 1-0 Jensen (Kontiola, Lepisto 18:50 PP); 2-0 Kivisto (O’Neill 27:22); 2-1 Galimov (Sulak 27:58)
Goalies: Kalnins – Podyapolsky
The host team started its tournament in the evening game and its first line powered an emphatic win over Torpedo. Alexei Kudashov seems to have decided that the trio of Vladimir Tkachyov, Jori Lehtera and Sergei Plotnikov will form his first line and today they showed just what they have to offer.
It took precisely one minute for Plotnikov to open the scoring. SKA’s new captain beat Anders Lindback on a delayed penalty and went on to add a second midway through the opening frame. Pavel Varfolomeyev found a quick response to that goal, but subsequently it was all about the host.
SKA St. Petersburg 6 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (2-1, 2-0, 2-0)
Goals: 1-0 Plotnikov (1:00); 2-0 Plotnikov (Dyblenko, Zemchyonok 13:26); 2-1 Varfolomeyev (13:49); 3-1 Tkachyov (Plotnikov, Byvaltsev 21:06 PP); 4-1 Kablukov (Kagarlitsky 22:13); 5-1 Tikhonov (Ketov 47:39); 6-1 Byvaltsev (Karpov, Kagarlitsky 57:30)
Goalies: Hellberg - Lindback