Sibir Novosibirsk 3 Ak Bars Kazan 0 (0-0, 1-0, 2-0)
The 30th edition of Magnitogorsk’s pre-season tournament began with Sibir kicking off its title defense with victory over Ak Bars.
On the face of it, that’s a surprise result. However, Ak Bars opted for an experimental line-up, leaving out Alexander Burmistrov, Artyom Lukoyanov and Mikhail Glukhov. There was no place for Steven Kampfer, fresh off the plane to Russia, nor the recovering Dmitry Voronkov. Danis Zaripov remains in Kazan, preparing for the season with an individual training program.
The two goalies, Igor Bobkov and Anton Krasotkin, produced a duel that defined the game. In the first period, both proved invulnerable — albeit helped by strong defense that limited clear-cut chances to a minimum. However, Sibir found the key to unlock the Ak Bars defense in the second period as summer signings Anton Wedin and Nick Shore combined with Oleg Li on the second line and began to expose Bobkov. Indeed, those three broke the deadlock, with Wedin potting his first goal since arriving from Sweden. In the third, young defenseman Ilya Morozov fired home a wrister from the blue line before Wedin struck again to wrap up the win when got in behind the defense and wired a shot past Bobkov. Krasotkin secured a shut-out and earned the player of the game award for his efforts.
Sibir head coach Andrei Martemyanov
It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but it’s nice to beat a good team like Ak Bars. We showed character today, the guys blocked a lot of shots. Our defense was strong and when your goalie has a shut-out that’s a big bonus.
[on playing at the first Romazan Memorial in 1992]
Of course I remember it! We played in the Romazan Arena, they’d just finished renovating it. It was a delight for the fans in Magnitogorsk and for us — an international tournament, our first, and we won it! Coming back after 30 years ... my wife reminded me about it yesterday. It’s emotional.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 (1-0, 1-0, 0-1)
The main attraction, of course, was host club Metallurg making only its second appearance of the summer against Neftekhimik. In its first game, Magnitka used an experimental line-up against Severstal, here we were back to what looks close to a first choice defense. Juho Olkinuora started in goal after being given extra recovery time following his exploits at the World Championship and training on his own before joining the team for this tournament.
Neftekhimik is making its debut at this tournament. The visitor also put faith in a Finnish goalie with Frans Tuohimaa continuing to get used to his new team-mates. In front of him, the Czech defensive duo was separated with Ronald Knot now partnered by Maxim Berezin.
It took some time for the opening goal to arrive, although Metallurg always looked to be in control of the game. Artyom Minulin converted a rebound late in the first period to open the scoring and at the start of the second Nikita Korostelyov doubled the lead on the power play. The Steelmen created a few more good chances in the third, but late in the game Neftekhimik set up a tense finish when Timur Khafizov scored on the power play.
Spartak Moscow 3 Admiral Vladivostok 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)
This game was something of a dress rehearsal for next month’s championship match-up between the two teams in the early stages of the new season. Boris Mironov continues to review the depth of his roster: Spartak’s recently-acquired imports Emil Pettersson and Jakub Jerabek were absent once again, while highly-regarded young forward Vasily Ponomaryov made his first appearance after recovering from injury. Alexei Krasikov played in goal, and recorded a shut-out as the Red-and-Whites enjoyed a dominant victory.
Spartak took the early initiative and steadily pressed home that advantage. A goal in each period secured a comfortable win, with Gleb Shashkov opening the scoring late in the first and Maxim Tsyplakov doubled the lead early in the second. Late in the game, Alexander Khokhlachyov set up Dmitry Kugryshev for a third goal.