Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The Chelyabinsk Governor’s Cup was the big news in Monday’s program, with opening day wins for Avtomobilist and Traktor.

Makeyev makes the difference

Sibir Novosibirsk 0 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1 (0-1, 0-0, 0-0)

There’s some history between these two teams. They met in last season’s playoffs and there are several players in both rosters with experience at both clubs. Avtomobilist had to contend with the loss of Stephane Da Costa and Shane Prince, both away on international duty, while goalie Jakub Kovar is close to a return to the team.

Despite those missing players, the Motormen took the lead in the first period. Dmitry Zhukenov made the most of his promotion to the top line in place of Da Costa and his pass set up Alexei Makeyev for the opening goal. Zhukenov was wearing a jersey bearing the name of Andrei Martemyanov, now head coach of Sibir; as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations for hockey in Yekaterinburg, Avto is taking the opportunity to remember key players from its history.

However, that goal was a rare highlight in a first period that was long on effort but short on goalmouth incident. The second period produced more excitement, with Dmitry Shikin kept busy in the Avtomobilist net and Nikolai Demidov ringing the iron when the goalie was beaten. At the other end, the Motormen had chances of their own, with Maxim Rasseikin having a good game in place of Prince on the second line. But there was no further scoring.

The third session was also scoreless, although a fight between ex-Avto man Evgeny Chesalin and Patrice Cormier raised the temperature. However, Shikin would finish with a shut-out after 29 saves before the teams played an exhibition period of 3-on-3 overtime which ended with Alexei Vasilevsky giving Avto another 1-0 verdict.

Avtomobilist head coach Bill Peters
It was a good game from both teams, especially on defense. Both goalies showed some great hockey. Our youngsters, such as Valery Sitnikov, got lots of game time. Jakub Kovar is with the team now and he’s sure to play in this tournament. I think he’ll play in our third game.

Sibir head coach Andrei Martemyanov
I’m not happy with our face-offs. Our opponent won twice as many as us. It’s a bit too early to talk about consistency, different teams are in different places due to their physical preparations. We really didn’t play well in the first period, it was hard to get into the game, our power play wasn’t firing. But from the second period our game was more or less there.

Tkachyov strikes against former club

Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Both teams came into this tournament with something new to show. For Traktor, it was a first chance to put a new-look roster in front of its home fans; for Lokomotiv it was a debut for big-name signing Maxim Shalunov. He centered Andre Petersson and fellow summer addition Reid Boucher on what could be a blockbuster line this season.

But not today. The trio is still settling down and looked a little rusty, especially on the power play. Even so, there were signs of promise when Boucher’s spectacular pass carved out a great chance for Shalunov in the third period. File under ‘work in progress’.

While Loko was close to full strength, Traktor saw Andrei Stas and Nick Bailen join up with team Belarus during the week. Emil Garipov and Tomas Hyka are still short of full fitness, but there was an appearance for two-time Gagarin Cup winner Alexei Potapov, whose role on the fourth line is to provide an experienced foil for promising youngster Dmitry Alexeyev.

Unlike the tournament opener, this was a lively game from the start. Lokomotiv adopted a style reminiscent of its playoff campaign, hugging the boards and shooting the puck. Anvar Gatiyatullin’s team adopted a similar approach and it was telling that all three goals came from the slot. The first came after winning a battle in the corner, the second followed a ricochet and third was scored on the power play. There was a certain symbolism in Vladimir Tkachyov scoring against his former club. He was assisted by another new arrival, Albert Yarullin. However, Tkachyov’s day ended early: after a heavy collision into the boards he left the ice early — the only shade on Traktor’s bright start to the tournament.

Lokomotiv head coach Andrei Skabelka
Traktor started well, the first period was all about them. They were faster, they won all the physical battles. Daniil Isayev was great in goal for us, he was the reason the score was only 1-0. We could have recovered in the second period, but that goal on the first shift obviously knocked us back. We had lots of possession in their zone but we weren’t aggressive enough to get a goal. Shalunov’s line has looked good in practice, but this was the first game for them. We’ll look at the game and think about what we need to change.

Traktor head coach Anvar Gatiyatullin
It’s clear that the team is under strain. We didn’t look fresh, there were misplaced passes. None the less, it was also obvious that everyone was working hard. The commitment and team spirit are encouraging. We decided to be cautious with Tkachyov’s injury. Tomorrow he’ll have a check-up to make sure there’s nothing wrong. We’re planning for Galimov to play one of the games, depending on his condition. For Tomas Hyka the next game is unlikely but if all goes to plan he’ll be involved on Aug. 26. We’re looking forward to seeing him alongside Lukas Sedlak again.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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