Before Sibir’s final game here in Magnitogorsk it was reported that Sam Lofquist had left the club. Head coach Nikolai Zavarukhin was unwilling to comment on unconfirmed reports, but the American was certainly not involved against Kunlun. Curiously, he played in China last season, but did not line up against his former colleagues.
The game meant little in terms of the tournament standings. Neither team had a chance of winning the cup, but Sibir had arguably the stronger motivation as it looked to escape a winless trip to Magnitogorsk. In the early stages, we saw a goaltending duel with Red Star’s newcomer Jeremy Smith trading stops with Sibir’s Harri Sateri.
Sibir was perhaps a little more active on offense, even if its power play continued to misfire. Even a spell of 5-on-3 did not generate much danger for Smith, but around the midway point of the game that steady build up of pressure finally told. The Siberians thought they had the lead when Evgeny Chesalin’s blocked shot looped up over Smith’s shoulder, but a replay showed that it did not cross the line. That was a momentary reprieve; Andrei Yermakov fired home the opening goal from the next attack.
The teams traded goals in the third period, with Jake Chelios scoring his first goal for his new club. The defenseman is the son of IIHF Hall-of-Famer Chris Chelios, and joined Red Star during the summer.
Kunlun Red Star 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-1)
Goals: 0-1 Yermakov (Milovzorov, Sharov 28:50); 0-2 Loginov (Kazakov, Alexeyev 48:18); 1-2 Chelios (Sustr, Wong 48:50)
Goalies: Smith – Sateri
Nikolai Zavarukhin, head coach, Sibir
The team did what we asked of it. The plan that we prepared for this game worked well in the first two periods. Then in the third there was a bit of a panic. But the guys did well and battled it out until the end. All our goals in this tournament came from defensemen, we’ll be working with our forwards to get them playing more aggressively. I’m not going to comment on unconfirmed reports about Lofquist leaving Sibir.
Curt Fraser, head coach, Kunlun Red Star
Today we sent out a lot of young players, gave them a chance to prove themselves. Plus Mathew Maione played his first game of pre-season. He’s fit again after his injury and we could see him in action at last. Our goalie, Jeremy Smith, also recovered from injury. We have high hopes for him, he’s a really good goaltender. As for the game, we were let down by our mistakes. Unnecessary penalties – we took too many of them again. We need to be careful of our discipline, it’s an important part of the game.
Just as in Chelyabinsk at the Governor’s Cup, Metallurg and Traktor played off for the trophy here in Magnitogorsk. And this time, once again, Traktor came out on top to win the Romazan Memorial Cup and take home a second piece of summer silverware.
The tournament host knew that taking the game to overtime would be enough to secure the cup, and rested Eric O’Dell and Sergei Mozyakin while giving a chance to the reserves. Traktor sent out an almost full-strength roster and reaped the rewards with a 2-1 victory. As a result, the 28th edition of the Romazan Memorial Cup went to Chelyabinsk. Magnitka came second and Sibir claimed third place by virtue of that win over Red Star.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 (1-1, 0-0, 0-1)
Goals: 1-0 Lyubimov (Yakovlev, Parshin 10:03); 1-1 Sedlak (Hyka 15:15); 1-2 Konkov (Glinkin, Bailen 42:02)
Goalies: Koshechkin – Demchenko
Josef Jandac, head coach, Metallurg
I’d like to thank my team for the way they battled through the whole game. Unfortunately, we allowed one goal more than the opposition. That’s the end of the tournament, the end of our exhibition games. Now we’re ready to prepare for the first game of the regular season. We hope Sergei Mozyakin will be available but right now I can’t say anything concrete [about his fitness].
Peteris Skudra, head coach, Traktor
Thank you, Magnitogorsk, for arranging a great tournament. The level of play at the Romazan was very high, good tempo, good energy. We did what we came here to do, and we’re pleased to go home with the cup. It puts everyone in a good mood, but in the bigger picture it doesn’t mean all that much. Now it’s time to go home and get ready for the new season.
Roman Lyubimov, forward, Traktor
We started well and got the first goal. But then, somehow, we lost the initiative. We stopped playing with the puck and it’s always hard to recover when you’re on the back foot. Now our coaches will make their final adjustments and we’ll get into battle at the start of the season.
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