Andy Potts Andy Potts
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With two wins in two games, Lokomotiv has an unassailable position at the top of the standings in Ufa. In Nur-Sultan, there was defeat for Barys at the start of the President of Kazakhstan Cup, while Neftekhimik defeated Sibir and Ak Bars edged past Amur in the Romazan Memorial in Magnitogorsk.

President of Kazakhstan Cup

Zanatta wins in first game

Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 4 (1-2, 2-1, 0-1)

Another day, another new tournament. This event in Nur-Sultan had to be hastily restructured after Dinamo Riga was forced to cancel its involvement. Host club Barys invited two team from the Kazakh championship to join in, setting up a four-team event with a round robin phase then two ‘medal games’ at the weekend.

Game one saw Kunlun Red Star — with head coach Ivano Zanatta behind the bench for the first time — take on Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk. The KHL team made a flying start with a goal from Luke Lockhart after 36 seconds. However, frequent penalty troubles prevented the Dragons from taking control of the game. Three times Red Star held the lead — thanks to goals from Parker Foo and Cory Kane — and three times Torpedo responded. In the third, though, Brandon Yip made it 4-3 and this time the lead endured until the end.

Kazakh champ gives Barys a surprise

Barys Nur-Sultan 3 Saryarka Karaganda 4 (0-2, 2-1, 1-1)

Barys began its pre-season campaign against the Kazakh champion from last season. Yury Mikhailis opted to test almost all of the summer arrivals. Olle Alsing and Erik Martinsson formed the second pair of defensemen, while Christian Thomas and Cody Kunyk joined Matt Frattin on the first line. Triallist Kirill Savitsky played alongside Nikita Mikhailis and Curtis Valk on the second line.

However, it was Saryarka that made the better start, opening a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looking back. True, the Barys newcomers made an impact going forward: Thomas and Kunyk both had a goal and an assist, as did line-mate Frattin. However, Saryarka kept itself in front, with two goals from Vladislav Kuliyev pacing the win.

Republic of Bashkortostan Cup

Steelmen snap losing streak

Severstal Cherepovets 2 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Day two in Ufa began with Severstal and Avtomobilist looking to bounce back from defeat in their opening games. Both coaches made substantial changes to their rosters, with Severstal reworking three out of four lines. Bill Peters, meanwhile, restored Sergei Shumakov to the team as promised. He joined the top line alongside Stephane Da Costa and Alexei Makeyev. Vladimir Galkin played in goal in place of the injured Jakub Kovar.

Photo: 11.08.21. The Republic of Bashkortostan Cup - 2021. Severstal (Cherepovets) - Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg)

Avtomobilist put the pressure on in the first period, showing some good skating as Severstal struggled to get hold of the puck. Yefim Gurkin’s long shot broke the deadlock in the middle frame. However, the Motormen ran into penalty trouble later in the session and Yegor Morozov took advantage to score on a 5-on-3 power play. The decisive goal came in the 53rd minute when David Dumbadze seized the initiative and beat Galkin after a solo rush.

Severstal head coach Andrei Razin
After losing three games we wanted to win this one. A series of losses doesn’t help the team feel good about itself. We tightened up our game management. The ice isn’t great here so we knew the third period could go either way. I’m happy we held on and got the winner.

Avtomobilist head coach Bill Peters
At 1-1 the game was very even and it felt like the next goal would win it. Unfortunately in the second period we created our own problems when we took all those penalties. That’s what led to this result. I’m pleased to see Shumakov back, he got on the same wavelength as da Costa and Makeyev and they looked good; I’m happy with them.

Lokomotiv withstands Ufa fightback

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-3, 1-1, 2-0)

Lokomotiv made it two wins from two in Ufa — and in doing so secured top spot in the tournament standings with a game to spare. The Railwaymen could be joined on four parts by Salavat Yulaev or Severstal, depending on the outcome of the final games on Friday, but holds a head-to-head advantage over both teams. However, today’s win required Loko to survive a fightback from the home team that threatened to wipe out the three-goal lead the Railwaymen established in the first period.

Photo: 11.08.21. The Republic of Bashkortostan Cup - 2021. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

Pavel Kraskovsky was the key player in the opening frame. He put Loko ahead after just 27 seconds and scored again late in the session. In between, Reid Boucher found the net to mark his first appearance for his new club.

However, Salavat Yulaev’s power play proved to be ever more effective as the game went on. Rodion Amirov pulled one back midway through the second period, and in the third there were further power play tallies for Alexander Kadeikin and Danil Bashkirov. However, in the midst of all that, Georgy Ivanov scored on one of only two power play opportunities for Lokomotiv and that was enough to put the game beyond Ufa.

Salavat Yulaev head coach Tomi Lamsa
It’s not easy to understand why we absolutely failed to start the game the way we wanted. The first period was a complete failure for us and I’m not happy with it. But if we talk about the second and third periods, then I like the way we got back into the game, how we battled. We were much better in the second and third periods.

Maybe we made a little mistake: yesterday we played in the evening, today we skated in the morning. Perhaps that wasn’t a good idea. But it’s pre-season, these things happen. On the other hand, this game gives us plenty to think about. We’re happy with the way we finished the game, and that’s the most important thing.

Lokomotiv head coach Andrei Skabelka
We were great in the first period, really aggressive from the get-go. That led to goals and we played with confidence. In the second, penalties broke up our game and from the midway point the opponent gained the initiative. It turned out to be an interesting game and we learned a lot. We won, and that’s good but the fact that we’ve won this tournament isn’t all that important. Of course, it’s good to win any prize, they offer a cup so we can compete for it.

Romazan Memorial Trophy

Sibir’s defense breached at last

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3 Sibir Novosibirsk 2 SO (0-0, 1-1, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Sibir’s free-scoring streak came to an abrupt halt in a hard-fought battle against Neftekhimik. After scoring 11 unanswered goals in two games, the Siberians were locked into a 2-2 tie in regulation before losing here in a shoot-out.

Andrei Martemyanov shuffled his pack for this game, resting his strike force of Oleg Li, Nick Shore and Anton Wedin. That, in turn, blunted the potent power play that scored five of eight goals against Amur last time out, redeeming Neftekhimik in the first period.

In the second, a botched line change put Neftekhimik on the power play and Marat Khairullin delivered the opening goal of the game. The lead might have been greater but, instead, fortune favored Sibir: Vyacheslav Litovchenko’s shot took a big deflection off a Neftekhimik skate and found its way into the net.

The teams traded further markers in the third, with Evgeny Chesalin putting Sibir in front for the first time, only for Khairullin’s second of the day to bring up the first overtime in this year’s tournament, in which Libor Hudacek was closest to grabbing a winner. Instead, it went to a shoot-out and 20-year-old Danila Popov decided the outcome.

Neftekhimik head coach Oleg Leontyev
At this level of hockey, special teams make a big difference. So nobody can afford to give the opposition as much time on the power play as we did in that first period. We talked about that in the intermission. At full strength, we looked the better team and outshot the opposition. It was clear that we were skating better, creating more chances — four of them in overtime alone!

Ak Bars snaps losing run

Ak Bars Kazan 1 Amur Khabarovsk 0 (0-0, 1-0, 0-0)

After two losses and just one goal scored at the start of this tournament, Ak Bars had its worries. Amur, too, had something to prove after starting with a 0-8 loss to Sibir on Tuesday.

Ak Bars head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov kept his promise to give young goalie Artur Akhtyamov game time following the defeat against Metallurg, and his faith was rewarded with a shut-out. Amur also changed goalies, resting Patrik Bartosak and putting Evgeny Alikin into the game. He frequently denied Ak Bars in the first period, especially when his team was on the PK.

After allowing goals with alarming frequency in their earlier games, both teams would be happy to see that this game was low scoring. However, taking penalties was the Tigers’ downfall. After 25 miuntes, Ilya Safonov got to the slot and attempted an audacious shot through his legs. That hit the crossbar, and the rebound dropped for Nikolai Kovalenko to break the deadlock.

As the game went on, Amur grew in confidence and began to pose an offensive threat, while Ak Bars continued to create chance but failed to convert. Thus, Kovalenko’s goal was the only one of the game.

Ak Bars head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov
We needed that victory like a breath of fresh air! I’ll say it again, after two losses with a painful aggregate score of 1-7, it’s great that we didn’t allow any goals today. Our young goalie did what he had to do! We’re still finding our game, there’s plenty of work to be done to get a functional team out of all the new guys on the roster. We’re playing a little bit differently this year and that takes some patience. We need to get in shape. I can see that many teams are quicker than us, mentally and physically. We’re a little off the pace, but give us a bit of time.

Warm-up games

Wins for Dynamo and Vityaz

Dynamo Moscow 6 Spartak Moscow 2 (1-1, 4-1, 1-0)

Dynamo made several changes following a loss to Amur last time out. Vadim Shipachyov and Stanislav Galiyev returned to the top line alongside Alexander Petunin, with Oscar Lindberg, Eric O’Dell and Dmitry Rashevsky on the second.

Spartak also freshened things up after its 3-0 win over Admiral, and Jakub Jerabek made his first appearance since joining the club from Vityaz. Oscar Dansk got the start in goal.

The Red-and-Whites opened the scoring early when Tim Heed converted a power play chance with a powerful shot from the blue line. However, it wasn’t long before Dynamo tied it up with Lindberg beating his fellow Swede Dansk. Another Spartak power play put the visitor back in front early in the second, with Heed setting up Jerabek for a shot that Sergei Shirokov deflected home.

However, Dynamo responded to take control of the game. Rashevsky scored twice to give his team the lead, then the first line engineered a two-on-one break for Shipachyov to make it 4-2. Galiyev added a fifth and Petunin completed the scoring in the third.

Vityaz Moscow Region 4 Ryazan 2 (0-1, 1-1, 3-0)

A youthful Vityaz needed a big third period to defeat lower league opposition. The coaching staff used this game to test out some of the youngsters hoping for a place in the KHL this season, and also had the chance to see a five-man unit of Vityaz players turn out in the colors of their farm club.

It was that group that gave Ryazan the lead late in the third when Anton Todykov saved Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov’s shot only for Semyon Demidov to convert the rebound. In the second period, another power play saw Alexei Sleptsov extend Ryazan’s lead.

However, Vityaz hit back with a power play tally of its own through Fyodor Malykhin and went on to score three more unanswered goals in the third to seal the win. Slava Leshchenko, Mikhail Smolin and Ivan Larichev were the scorers.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
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