The first game of the day in Magnitogorsk pitted yesterday’s losers against each other. Traktor had gone down in overtime against Kunlun before Sibir suffered a heavy defeat against Metallurg. While the Siberians were also struggling against a tough schedule, Traktor was able to recall several key players rested in Thursday’s play.
It didn’t take long for two of those recalled players to make an impact. Czech strike duo Tomas Hyka and Lukas Sedlak were back on the team and combined for Sedlak to open the scoring in the fourth minute. It was his first goal for his new club, but it failed to spark a flurry of scoring. Instead, the game had a strong ‘summer’ feel about it, with neither team able to inject much pace into proceedings.
Midway through the second period Traktor extended its lead through Yegor Babenko. Sam Lofquist got one back for Sibir to keep the game alive going into the final minutes, but Traktor held on to secure the win.
Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Sibir Novosibirsk 1 (1-0, 0-0, 1-1)
Goals: 1-0 Sedlak (Hyka 3:13); 2-0 Babenko (47:30); 2-1 Lofquist (Ruohomaa, Pervushin 58:52)
Goalies: Demchenko (Fedotov) – Sateri
Peteris Skudra, head coach, Traktor
It wasn’t a bad game. There was a lot of physical play. We need to get used to that. At home we train on a big pad but here we were playing on a Finnish-sized rink where every pass has to count. You can see where we need to adapt and it wasn’t easy at first.
We’re still taking too many silly penalties. We spent too long on the PK and that spoiled our game. We need to work on our discipline. But overall, the lads did well. Apart from the last five minutes, where we eased up with the score at 2-0, we gave the opposition a real game.
Nikolai Zavarukhin, head coach, Sibir
Today we looked a bit better than yesterday. In the second and third periods we created chances but couldn’t put them away. Our power play didn’t produce, even though we had a few opportunities to use it. Of course, it was important psychologically to get a goal, and I’m happy that we managed that. The guys worked hard, we blocked a lot of shots but right now our finishing is letting us down.
Metallurg gave a chance to some of its young prospects, playing them on the third and fourth lines for Friday’s game against Kunlun Red Star. That gave Josef Jandac the chance to rest Eric O’Dell, who scored twice against Sibir 24 hours earlier, and have a look at the depth within the organization.
And it turned out to be 19-year-old forward Nikita Rozhkov who got the game-winning goal in the last minute of this encounter. The teenager snapped a 2-2 tie to give Metallurg its second win of the competition.
Red Star, meanwhile, showed more signs of promise after defeating Traktor in its first game. The Chinese team took the lead midway through the first period when Spencer Foo and Tyler Wong engineered a two-on-one breakout. Wong, Beijing-born, potted his first goal for the club after returning to his homeland after a spell in the minor leagues in North America. Foo, one of many summer recruits with Chinese heritage, is another reason to hope that China’s progress towards the 2022 Olympics in Beijing is picking up pace.
But it wasn’t enough to deny Magnitka. Sergei Mozyakin keeps on scoring and the Metallurg captain tied the game before Denis Parshin gave the home team the lead in the second period. Olli Palola made it 2-2 midway through the final frame and it looked like that would earn Kunlun a second overtime appearance in two days, but Rozhkov had other ideas.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 2 (0-1, 2-0, 1-1)
Goals: 0-1 Wong (Foo 10:06); 1-1 Mozyakin (Antipin, Kozun 26:51); 2-1 Parshin (Nekolenko, Yakovlev 33:40); 2-2 Palola (51:32), 3-2 Rozhkov (Dronov 59:05)
Goalies: Galimov – Hrubec
Josef Jandac, head coach, Metallurg
Today was more like a battle than a game. Kunlun put us under a lot of pressure and played a strong forecheck. We had problems getting out of our zone at times. In the second period we changed a few things and got better at moving with the puck. We got two goals, but then we had a spell where the momentum changed hands. First we kept puck possession better, then they did. Our power play didn’t deliver, but in the end we got the result.
Curt Fraser, head coach, Kunlun Red Star
This was only our second game of pre-season. I enjoyed watching both teams. I think the players and the spectators all enjoyed themselves. I’d like to say a special word of thanks to Metallurg for inviting us here. The people have been so hospitable and it’s a well-organized tournament. It’s great to be part of it.