Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The TANECO Champions Cup concluded in Kazan with Ak Bars coming out on top in the tournament final. A 3-0 victory over SKA secured the honors for the host, with Metallurg beating Salavat Yulaev to third place. In the day’s only warm-up game, Neftekhimik enjoyed a big win over Kunlun Red Star.

TANECO Champions Cup

Ak Bars takes gold

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

Ak Bars avenged its opening day defeat against SKA, blanking the Army Men to win its home tournament for the second time. SKA started the competition with an overtime victory against the host, but came up short in Sunday’s final.

Photo: 22.08.21. TANECO Champions Cup. Final. Ak Bars (Kazan) - SKA (St.Petersburg)

Steven Kampfer has been one of the revelations of the tournament. The former Boston Bruins defenseman is one of Ak Bars’ flagship additions this summer and in the Champions Cup he’s shown just why the club was so keen to bring him to Tatarstan. Today, he scored after 30 seconds to give his team the lead and record his sixth point in four games. SKA had a good chance to respond quickly when Kirill Panyukov took a penalty, but the visitor was unable to convert despite moving the puck neatly around the home zone. Back at full strength, Ak Bars extended the lead through Par Lindholm, another summer acquisition.

SKA had more attempts on goal, but failed to get past Igor Bobkov. Instead, it was Panyukov who scored the next, and his effort survived a bench challenge to give Ak Bars a power play. Subsequently, Bobkov performed strongly to keep SKA at bay and recorded his first shut-out for his new club; Ak Bars took top spot in its home tournament.

Ak Bars head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov
We finished on a high note. It’s great that we got the shut-out, Igor [Bobkov] kept us in the game at times and didn’t give the opposition a chance. It was a good game for us.

It’s good to see this tournament establishing itself. It’s well organized and it attracts high-quality teams. Now the guys will have a couple of days off but then we have plenty of work to do. We have one more warm-up game against Neftekhimik, after which we’ll decide on our roster. Several players have injuries and need time to recover. Khenkel went to his national team and I’m sure we’ll see him in the Olympic qualification games.

Kampfer has been quick to get involved, Weal is still getting used to us. Sometimes, people need a bit longer to adapt. I think the guys on try-out contracts will stay with us — Yanchevsky, Valiyev. It’s a pity that Valiyev got injured, I’d like to have seen him play. Hopefully he’ll be available against Neftkehimik.

SKA head coach Valery Bragin
Congratulations to Ak Bars for winning the tournament, they played well today. We gave away a soft goal right at the start and the opposition protected that lead, defending very strongly. We have things to look at before the start of the season. At this tournament, we wanted to get information about pretty much every player, and we did that. We played against some good teams. Khafizullin is back with us, training with the team. He should be available for our home tournament.

Magnitka edges Ufa for bronze

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 (0-1, 2-0, 1-1)

After defeats in Saturday’s games, these two were sent to the third-place playoff in Kazan. For Salavat Yulaev, Mikhail Naumenkov missed out due to yet another injury while Juha Metsola and Teemu Hartikainen were both rested. That opened a space for Nikolai Kulemin on the top line, with Alexander Sharychenkov taking over in goal. Metallurg, meanwhile, made few changes, althoughJuho Olkinuora returned in goal and Andrei Chibisov replaced Anatoly Nikontsev.

Metallurg had a slow start, with Artyom Zemchyonok in particular having a difficult opening period. He took a minor penalty and then conceded a penalty shot and was fortunate that neither resulted in a goal for Salavat Yulaev. But his problems continued, and his error contributed to Sergei Shmelyov’s opening goal.

Unhappy at the intermission, Metallurg returned to the game with renewed vigor — helped by a two-man advantage at the start of the middle frame. Grigory Dronov duly converted that chance and it wasn’t long before another power play tally saw Nikolai Goldobin put his team in front. Midway through the third period, Nikita Korostelyov’s one-timer made it 3-1 on a play more significant as the first equal-strength goal engineered by the Philippe Maillet line. Late in the game, Salavat Yulaev threatened to force a tie: a power play and a sixth skater helped swing the initiative back in Ufa’s favor and Danil Bashkirov made it 2-3 before Magnitka closed out the win.

Metallurg head coach Ilya Vorobyov
The first period was very average, I wasn’t happy with the guys. Then we spoke, and the second and third periods weren’t bad. We still have time to get into shape, I’m hoping that Prokhorkin will be among those who gets into shape before the start of the season. As for Maillet’s line, we’ve laid down the groundwork. But we are still looking at our combinations and there’s no guarantee that they will play together. There are lots of options but for now we’ll stick with them and see how they develop.

Salavat Yulaev head coach Tomi Lamsa
This was a difficult game, we didn’t have much recovery time after last night. We were good in the first period, we made a few tweaks in our game and they paid off. But we started the second badly, the opposition took advantage of our penalties and once we fell behind it was hard to get back. If you take the whole week, it was worthwhile: we learned a lot. The key thing was that we got through this game without any injuries. I’m pleased with Kulemin’s play, he hasn’t had a lot of time to prove himself. We’ll decide about him a bit later. As for Metsola, I’m confident in him. Every coach hopes for a goalie that can save him, but we still have time to get ready for the season. Right now we need to understand how we’re going to play when everyone is healthy again. I hope that Manninen and Granlund will be the first to come back.

Warm-up game

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 7 Kunlun Red Star 1 (3-0, 2-0, 2-1)

Neftekhimik rested Pavel Poryadin, the hat-trick hero in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Dragons. But that made little difference to his team’s offensive power, with the addition of much-travelled forward Ansel Galimov contributing to another convincing victory. Galimov, a Neftekhimik graduate whose pro career to date has been almost entirely away from his hometown, potted the fifth goal as his team powered to another convincing win. Red Star again deployed a roster stacked with local prospects; the visitor’s only goal came at the start of the third period when Tyler Wong set up Brandon Yip.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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