Vityaz Moscow Region 1 Spartak Moscow 2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)
These teams met for the second time in the space of a week, with Spartak powering to a 6-1 victory last time. Boris Mironov strengthened his team from that game, restoring Sergei Shirokov and Jori Lehtera to the first line alongside Emil Pettersson. For Vityaz, Yury Babenko made a couple of alterations to the team that played Admiral in its most recent game: Ilya Ezhov took over in goal while forwards Slava Leshchenko and Ivan Larichev were rested.
Spartak will play its home games at the Megasport Arena this season, and began this game as if they already felt at home. In the first period defenseman Alexander Nikishin joined the attack to score the opening goal. At the other end, Vityaz failed to score with two power plays and, at equal strength, Daniel Audette was denied by Alexei Krasikov. However, in the second period, captain Fyodor Malykhin tied the scores on the power play.
The winner, also on the PP, came in the third. Shirokov, Lehtera and Jakub Jerabek put together a lovely combination play for the former Vityaz man to score. Vityaz tried to fight back, but a penalty on Viktor Antipin took the wind out of the final storm as Spartak opened with a win at the Mayor of Moscow Cup.
CSKA Moscow 2 Dynamo Moscow 3 (2-2, 0-0, 0-1)
The evening game pitted Dynamo and CSKA. The teams have had very different summers, with Dynamo playing seven games (winning five of them) and CSKA just two. Sergei Fyodorov played Adam Reideborn in goal for this one and returned some senior players to the roster, while his opposite number Alexei Kudashov made just one change to the team that beat Avangard last time out.
CSKA made a fast start, scoring twice in 90 seconds to put Dynamo in an unfamiliar position this pre-season. Sergei Andronov forced the puck home on his first shift, then a swift counter-attack set up Joakim Nordstrom for a one-timer. And, after all that, a penalty on Vladislav Yefremov gave CSKA a power play.
Gradually, though, the Blue-and-Whites steadied the ship. In the sixth minute, Andrei Pedan pulled one back when his shot surprised Reideborn. Then Eric O’Dell tied the scores, adding a goal to his assist on Pedan’s play.
After that flurry of early goals, the game settled down. The second period was goalless and it wasn’t until the start of the third that was saw the winning goal. It went to Dynamo, with Vyacheslav Voynov needing just 19 seconds to convert a power play. More penalty trouble hamstrung CSKA’s hopes of a fightback: Sergei Plotnikov twice found himself in the box, helping Kudashov’s team make a winning start to the tournament.
Avangard Omsk 6 Severstal Cherepovets 4 (0-1, 4-2, 2-1)
Avangard started in Petersburg with a loss against Torpedo, but Bob Hartley continued to leave key players out of his team. Today Oliwer Kaski, Ville Pokka and Denis Zernov were rested. Severstal made its first appearance in this tournament but had to do without injured goalie Vladislav Podyapolsky.
The Steelmen got a good start when David Dumbadze opened the scoring in the third minute. After that we saw a see-saw game, with chances at both ends and plenty of uncertainty among both defenses. However, goals had to wait until the second period. Corban Knight struck early to tie the scores when he redirected an Alexei Emelin shot. That opened the floodgates and the next seven minutes brought four more markers to leave the game tied at 3-3. Late in the frame, Emelin beat Dmitry Shugayev with a fairly weak shot, and 19-year-old goalie Artyom Nazarkin took over in the Severstal net.
The action remained intense in the third, with shots raining in at both ends. Mikhail Tikhonov brought Severstal level once again in the 45th minute and Nazarkin looked to be on top of his game at the other end. But late in proceedings, Avangard took the win. Bogdan Denisevich put the Hawks back in front and Dmitry Shevchenko’s empty net goal wrapped up a high-scoring win for Avangard.
SKA St. Petersburg 4 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (1-0, 1-1, 2-0)
SKA recorded its second victory of the tournament, defeating Torpedo by the same 4-1 scoreline it recorded yesterday against Sochi. The previous game was dominated by SKA’s youngsters, but today the team had a more mature look. The likes of Anton Burdasov, Linden Vey and Vasily Tokranov all returned to the line-up, with teen sensation Matvei Michkov rotated out of the roster after his debut goal yesterday.
The Army Men made a fast start here, with Joonas Kemppainen opening the scoring in the first minute. But Valery Bragin’s men were slow to build on that advantage, and Torpedo tied the scores at the start of the second period on a short-handed goal from Sergei Goncharuk. However, once Marat Khusnutdinov made it 2-1 midway through the game, there was no looking back. Another youngster, Nikita Chibrikov, struck on the power play early in the third and veteran Anton Burdasov made it 4-1, also on the PP, midway through the final stanza as Torpedo was unable to build on its opening win over Avangard.
After the game, the teams played a period of overtime, with Artur Tyanullin giving Torpedo a consolation success. Then SKA won a shoot-out 2-1 to conclude the evening’s entertainment.
Dinamo Riga 2 Dinamo Minsk 3 OT (1-0, 1-0, 0-2, 0-1)
The two Dinamos concluded their pre-season games with a head-to-head clash in Daugapils. It was a competitive game: although Minsk spent far more time on the attack, it trailed 0-2 on goals from Emile Poirier and Martins Karsums. Then came the fightback, with Tyler Graovac putting the Bison on the scoreboard midway through the third and Taylor Beck tying it up 30 seconds before the hooter. In overtime, Roman Gorbunov potted the winner for the Belarusians.
Jokerit Helsinki 2 Assat Pori 1 (1-0, 1-0, 0-1)
Jokerit also wrapped up its summer action with a game on the road at Assat. It proved to be the tightest scoreline so far for our Finnish franchise, but Lauri Marjamaki’s men completed an undefeated pre-season program with a fifth victory. Jokerit took the lead through Hannes Bjorninen in the eighth minute and extended the advantage in the second period when Niko Mikkola found the net. Assat pulled one back in the final stanza but could not save the game. The teams also played out a session of 3-on-3 overtime, with Philip Holm giving Jokerit the edge once again.