Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Wednesday saw the opening games in the Champions Cup, one of the biggest pre-season events. Metallurg enjoyed a high-scoring success over Salavat Yulaev, before SKA edged host team Ak Bars in overtime.

Karpov’s double downs Ufa

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 6 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 (1-1, 2-1, 3-2)

The opening game of the TANECO Champions Cup saw Metallurg win a high-scoring encounter with Salavat Yulaev. It was the teams’ first meeting of the summer. Magnitka rested Nikolai Prokhorkin, Semyon Koshelev and Mikhail Pashnin, bringing in Bogdan Potekhin and Igor Shvyryov to fill out the forward line.

Photo: 18.08.21. TANECO Champions Cup. Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

Salavat Yulaev was affected both by injury and players departing to represent their countries in Olympic qualification. Tomi Lamsa went for youth, with Juha Metsola and Teemu Hartikainen the only imports to appear. A youthful trio of Yegor Suchkov, Danil Aimurzin and Gleb Kuzmin formed the fourth line.

The opening goal came midway through the first period when Yegor Yakovlev punished an error by Metsola. However, a 5-on-3 power play brought Ufa level, Alexander Kadeikin putting away the rebound. In the middle frame, Metallurg suffered more penalty trouble, playing half the session with a man in the box. One of those penalties saw Salavat Yulaev go in fron when Stepan Sannikov set up Igor Myasishchev on the slot. Back at full strength, Magnitka quickly tied it up when Josh Currie and Brendan Leipsic’s odd-man rush was too much for Metsola. Then came a power play the other way, and Linus Hultstrom’s long pass set up Philippe Maillet to make it 3-2 at the intermission.

In the third, there were two instances that brought two goals in 30 seconds. Kuzmin’s tying goal was quickly answered by an effort from Metallurg prospect Danila Yurov. Kadeikin potted his second of the game to tie it up at 4-4, but Maxim Karpov had the final say with a quickfire brace to take the game away from Ufa at last.

Metallurg head coach Ilya Vorobyov
We started well, but penalties broke up our game. In the last couple of days we paid a lot of attention to our penalty kill and it looks like the guys decided to keep practising that. But I’m happy that we got the win.

Yurov will get game time — sometimes it might be 10 minutes in a game, another time he’ll only appear after the first period. We need to introduce him in the right way, it’s not easy to push a young player into men’s hockey. We don’t want to damage the player.

Salavat Yulaev head coach Tomi Lamsa
For the first game of the tournament we had a lot of young players. They gave us a lot of energy, they worked hard on both sides of the puck. We’re pleased with that. Of course it hurts to give up six goals and make so many individual errors, but on the plus side we scored four on an opponent as strong as Metallurg. We had a lot of penalties, but that’s not unusual in pre-season. There are new rules, the referees officiate a bit differently. The most important thing is that they are consistent throughout the season.

SKA’s power play makes the difference

Ak Bars Kazan 2 SKA St. Petersburg 3 OT (1-1, 0-0, 1-1, 0-1)

The evening game saw Ak Bars take on SKA, with both teams looking to improve on some indifferent results in pre-season so far. For the home team, Dmitry Kvartalnov went with his strongest available team, bringing back the likes of Kirill Petrov and Per Lindholm. SKA, meanwhile, named nine players under the age of 21, and the fourth line was manned by teen prospects Nikita Chibrikov, Fyodor Svechkov and Marat Khusnutdinov.

Photo: 18.08.21. TANECO Champions Cup. Ak Bars (Kazan) - SKA (St.Petersburg)

Right from the start, Ak Bars showed a willingness to land big hits on the opposition ... and that played its part in the opening goal. Ilya Safonov and Artyom Lukoyanov were deemed to be excessively enthusiastic and with a two-man advantage SKA quickly took the lead through Igor Ozhiganov. The reply was created by some great work by Artyom Galimov and finished with a spot of luck when the puck bounced into the net of Fredrik Handemark’s skate. Nikolai Kovalenko missed a great chance to put the home team in front when he emerged from the penalty box and went straight onto the attack, only to be denied by Alexander Samonov.

In the third period, another power play goal restored SKA’s lead when Igor Bobkov misjudged Linden Vey’s angled effort. Once again, though, Ak Bars enjoyed a kind bounce at the other end: Mark Yanchevsky advanced to the slot and fired in a shot that cannoned off Yaroslav Dyblenko’s foot. That took the game to overtime and once again Ak Bars found itself short-handed. SKA put together a winning combination that ended with Stepan Falkovsky’s accurate shot.

Ak Bars head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov
We allowed a lot of goals on our PK today. But we scored more than in any of our games at the tournament in Magnitogorsk. We need to improve our PK and we’ll work on that. Of course, at the end of the game we needed to stay out of the box. We’ll keep working, we have another game tomorrow. As for the quality of the ice, that’s the same for all the teams. It was a bit better today, but we won’t see it at its best because it’s very warm.

SKA head coach Valery Bragin
It was a very good game, it was already like playing a regular season game and nobody wanted to give an inch. We played with a good, competitive spirit. We were happy to use Svechkov and Khusnutdinov on our special teams. They play there for the national team and for our club, they know the system. I’m happy with how they played. Michkov didn’t come to this tournament. We’re monitoring his condition, he was tired after his tournament with Russia. We hope to see him at our home tournament. Yaroslav Askarov is going to our farm club to get some game time. We have four goalies, he’ll play three or four games there and we’ll see what happens at the Puchkov tournament.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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