Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Host club SKA began its campaign at Puchkov Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Kunlun Red Star, while Avangard again came from behind to win. This time, Severstal was the victim for the Hawks, who top the tournament table. In Finland, Dinamo Riga suffered an overtime loss against Kiekko-Pojat in its latest warm-up game.

Puchkov Tournament

Second fightback win for Avangard

Avangard Omsk 6 Severstal Cherepovets 3 (0-2, 2-1, 4-0)

For the second day running, Avangard rallied from 0-2 to win at the Puchkov Tournament in Petersburg. Severstal’s early start was perhaps somewhat against the run of play: Avangard looked livelier and had more shots but trailed at the intermission on goals from Alexander Petunin and Andrei Alexeyev.

Photo: 25.08.20. Nikolai Puchkov memorial tournament. Avangard (Omsk) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

However, just as in Monday’s game, the Hawks hit back in the second period, tying the game with markers from Ilya Kablukov and Corban Knight. Both goals featured assists from young Yegor Chinakhov, who continues to impress through the pre-season campaign. This wasn’t quite a repeat of the game against Torpedo yesterday, though. Severstal got back ahead late in the middle frame when Artyom Gareyev made it 3-2.

In the third period, though, Avangard was too strong. Alexander Khokhlachyov scored twice to give the Hawks the lead for the first time, then Sergei Shumakov made it 5-3 in the 52nd minute. Chinakhov wrapped up another with an empty net goal and Avangard moved clear at the top of the tournament table.

Chinakhov’s progress, with Denis Zernov as his center, has prompted comparisons with Ilya Mikheyev, now with the Maples Leafs. However, head coach Bob Hartley was keen to keep a lid on the growing excitement over the youngster.

“Chinakhov’s a very talented guy but it’s a bit early to start comparing with Mikheyev,” the coach said. “Ilya is already an NHL player. Chinakhov has really good potential but he still needs to develop and grow. We’ll give him every opportunity for that.”

Askarov blanks Red Star

SKA St. Petersburg 2 Kunlun Red Star 0 (0-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Tournament host SKA made its debut at the Puchkov Tournament against a Red Star team that began its campaign with a win over Sochi yesterday.

Photo: 25.08.20. Nikolai Puchkov memorial tournament. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)

Valery Bragin did not deploy a full-strength roster: 18-year-old goalie Yaroslav Askarov got the start and the team was studded with young prospects. But SKA quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm and took control of the game, with Dmitry Shikin having a busy time in the Dragons’ net.

Shikin looked good yesterday against his former colleagues from Sochi and continued in that vein on Tuesday. It wasn’t until early in the second period that SKA got the lead it deserved, with Linden Vey pouncing on the rebound after a Yaroslav Dyblenko shot got away from the Kunlun netminder. There was plenty of creativity on display, with young forward Vasily Glotov even attempting a lacrosse-style goal in the second period — the kind of exhibition stuff you hope to enjoy in pre-season, this time from a fourth-line rookie.

It left young Askarov as something of a spectator at times. “Physically it wasn’t such hard work today, but psychologically it was harder because there weren’t many shots at me,” he said. “The team played well, we controlled the puck.” And controlling the puck was a feature of Askarov’s game, with the goalie often coming out of his goal to act as an additional defenseman. That’s something he says he’s been working on in the summer, with a view to helping his team-mates spring from defense to offense.

However, there was little call for that kind of play as the Army Men doubled their lead at the start of the third. Igor Ozhiganov firing home a power play goal after a long spell of possession around the Red Star net and the home team had the better of the remaining play without extending the lead. Red Star, meanwhile, could point to some solid defensive play as evidence that a hastily-assembled team is finding its feet before the start of the season.

And that thought comforted Kovalev after this defeat. “SKA showed its class,” he said. But our team came together 10 days ago. Keeping that in mind, we put on a decent display and I’m happy for our guys.

“Our situation really isn’t easy. Before this tournament we had just one game against Vityaz. It’s hard to put together any kind of team in that short time. However, I have a good coaching staff around me, my colleagues have great experience and I’m sure we can do this. But, of course, there’s a lot of work ahead. Right now we don’t fully understand what kind of team we will have when the season starts.”

Warm-up game

Riga edged out in Finland

Kiekko-Pojat 4 Dinamo Riga 3 OT (1-2, 0-0, 2-1, 1-0)

Dinamo Riga played its second warm-up game of the summer and once again lost narrowly against opposition from Finland’s second tier Mestis league.

Riga selected another youthful line-up, with 18-year-old Bruno Bruveris in goal, triallist Eduards Jansons played on defense and teenage forward Patriks Zabusovs was involved.

Initially, things went well. Roberts Mamcics opened the scoring early on and Zabusovs jumped out of the penalty box to double that lead. But, just as in Monday’s game against Kettara Imatra, the Latvian defense had a few wobbles. The Finns pulled a goal back just before the first intermission and, in the second period, Bruveris had to be at his best with three saves to keep his team in front.

In the third period, though, Kiekko tied the scores through Valtteri Lipiainen. Janis Jaks, another triallist, responded to put Dinamo back in front almost immediately, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Instead, Kiekko tied it up late in the game and Santeri Koponen fired an overtime winner off the post.

After two games against opposition from the Finnish leagues, Dinamo is next in action on Thursday when it faces KHL rival Jokerit.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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