Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 SO (0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)
Lokomotiv is one of the hot tips for the coming season, but the team is having a tough time in Chelyabinsk. A 0-3 loss yesterday was following by another defeat today. Andrei Skabelka made some changes to his team, bringing goalie Eddie Pasquale into the starting line-up and moving Maxim Shalunov from the first line to the second. That meant that Reid Boucher, another big summer signing, was partnered with Pavel Kraskovsky and Yegor Korshkov.
That combination produced Loko’s first goal of the tournament, with Boucher setting up Kraskovsky to open the scoring late in the first period. The American also added some zest to the Railwaymen’s power play, although this did not lead to further goals.
Avtomobilist head coach Bill Peters was happy with his team’s performance in its opening win over Sibir and limited his changes to some tweaks in the bottom six. However, it took time for the Motormen to get a foothold in the game: in the early stages, the play in front of Pasquale’s net was slapdash rather than considered, and early in the second period Maxim Rasseikin missed a glorious opportunity — something that could be damaging to the prospects of a forward looking to prove his worth in the absence of big names like Stephane Da Costa and Shane Prince. It took a power play goal midway through the game for Jesse Blacker to tie the scores.
After that moment Lokomotiv visibly tired, perhaps due to playing in the evening game the day before. That led to more penalties but not to a winning goal as Pasquale carried his team all the way to a shoot-out before Georgy Belousov separated the teams.
Lokomotiv head coach Andrei Skabelka
In today’s game the team didn’t move well, we didn’t look sharp and there were a lot of unnecessary turnovers that led to too many counter attacks on us. That’s why we got this result.
Avtomobilist head coach Bill Peters
Both teams played a good game today and created good chances at both ends. I was especially pleased with how we played on the power play and the penalty kill. Vladimir Galkin looked excellent in goal. It’s good to win and keep moving in the right direction.
I’ve not spoken with Pavel Datsyuk about continuing his career. But last week he trained three or four times with the team. After that, I asked German Titov who was the best forward and he told me ‘Pavel’. So I’m really hopeful about his decision. I think the team is better if he’s on the roster. I’m waiting for his decision and I’m sure he’ll make the right choice for himself and his family.
Traktor Chelyabinsk 4 Sibir Novosibirsk 3 (1-1, 2-1, 1-1)
Traktor head coach Anvar Gatiyatullin managed to successfully combine two somewhat contradictory tasks in this game: garnering another victory in front of his home crowd while continuing to explore the depth of his roster. Vladimir Tkachyov was given time to recover from the injury sustained yesterday, while Lukas Sedlak and Sergei Kalinin were rested. However, there was a new strike trio in place with Alexei Byvaltsev promoted from the third line and placed alongside Vitaly Abramov and Teemu Pulkkinen. It’s a new combination, but it did some damage here.
Byvaltsev got Traktor’s first, scoring from the slot to cancel out an early opener from Sibir. Then Pulkkinen made his impact, assisting on Nikita Tertyshny’s goal and scoring twice himself to lead the home team to victory.
But it wasn’t all about Traktor. Sibir was always in contention and goals from Alexander Sharov and Chelyabinsk native Viktor Komarov kept the game tied at 3-3 until late in the game, when Pulkkinen’s second of the night proved decisive.
Sibir head coach Andrei Martemyanov
It was a good competitive game on the eve of the new season. Our team is uncompromising and always tries to get the most out of any opportunity. This doesn’t always work, but I’ve no complaints about anyone’s commitment. Of course, we need to take the chances that we create. I hope that the guys are gaining in confidence. When we score goals, we will win games.
Traktor head coach Anvar Gatiyatullin
The guys worked hard, showed character, created good chances and scored them. We looked at some of our reserves, players from Chelmet. We could see their desire, they want to prove themselves and push for a place on the team. We planned to give Emil Garipov one game here but if he can’t play we’ll give one of the young goalies a chance. Roman Manukhov’s recovery is going to schedule. We won’t rush, but when the medics give the all clear he’ll be back on the team. Everything is OK with Vladimir Tkachyov, Alexei Potapov went for a check and we’ll see what the doctors have to say.
Avangard Omsk 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 (1-0, 1-2, 0-1)
The opening game in Petersburg’s pre-season tournament saw Torpedo get the better of Gagarin Cup winner Avangard. That was a reward for David Nemirovsky’s decision to go with a line-up close to full strength, while Bob Hartley gave several young players a chance and included just two imports — Finnish defensemen Oliwer Kaski and Ville Pokka.
True, Kaski gave Avangard a first-period lead in this one, but Torpedo was always a threat and Vasily Demchenko performed strongly to keep the Hawks ahead at the first intermission.
Then came a terrific start to the second period for Nemirovsky’s team. Anton Shenfeld tied it up in the 22nd minute when he redirected Pavel Turbin’s shot beyond Demchenko. Then, within 20 seconds, a defensive lapse enable Sergei Goncharuk to make it 2-1. Avangard sought to regain the initiative and tied the game through young Arseny Gritsyuk’s penalty shot. That was one of three free shots in the middle frame: Denis Zernov squandered a chance for Avangard and Torpedo’s newcomer Daniel Zaar hit the post at the other end.
Avangard made the brighter start in the third, but could not score. Torpedo punished that with a 55th minute goal from Ziyat Paigin and that proved decisive as Avangard’s power play failed to score in 5-on-4, 5-on-3 and finally even 6-on-3 play. A period of overtime — in this competition, there is overtime regardless of the score at 60 minutes — was goalless, and the final shoot-out was taken by Torpedo.
SKA St. Petersburg 4 HC Sochi 1 (1-1, 1-0, 2-0)
SKA began its home tournament with a confident victory over Sochi, despite falling behind to an early goal from Pavel Shen. The 22-year-old is back in the KHL with an interesting back story — and a point to prove. Shen was identified as one of the KHL’s brightest youngsters when he broke into the league with Ugra back in 2017-2018, scoring twice in 29 games. That earned him a move to Salavat Yulaev and saw him drafted in the seventh round by the Bruins, and one year later he was part of Russia’s bronze medal team at the World Juniors.
However, he made little impact in adult hockey in Ufa, collecting just five points in 46 VHL and KHL games and moved to North America where he spent two seasons playing in the AHL with Providence Bruins before a short spell on loan at Sochi last term. That was parleyed into a permanent deal, and his goal today offers a reminder of his potential.
However, in contemporary Russian hockey, potential is a word strongly linked with SKA. Today’s game saw the Army Men roar back to win convincingly amid a flurry of goals from young prospects. Ivan Morozov, 21, is already an established KHLer with World Championship experience on his resume. He scored two goals to put SKA in front. Zakhar Bardakov, 20, moved to Petersburg after making his KHL debut for Vityaz last season and is already forming a partnership with Morozov. He got a goal and an assist here. Then, to round it off, the exciting young Matvei Michkov scored a last-minute goal. Still only 16, he set scoring records in last year’s Junior Hockey League and threatened Alexander Ovechkin’s World U18 record tally with 16 (12+4) points as Russia won silver.