Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 0 (1-0, 0-0, 0-0)
After defeat against Sibir yesterday, Andrei Skabelka was in danger of leaving Chelyabinsk without a single victory — hardly the form expected of a team tipped to make a serious title bid this season. The head coach managed to avoid that fate, helped by a shut-out from Eddie Pasquale, but the absence of Maxim Shalunov and Andre Petersson — two potential leaders who went from the top line to healthy scratches in the space of a week — raised eyebrows. Both will be expected to use the remaining days of pre-season to get back to game fitness.
However, the other big summer signing for Lokomotiv, Reid Boucher, continues to deliver. He has joined the Kraskovsky-Korshkov pairing and made an instant impact. Today, that line combined for the only goal — and it was a good one. Boucher was the architect, and his skilful feed was duly converted by Korshov. The understanding is growing; more than once they tried something similar during the game, only to fall narrowly short of adding to the goal tally.
Sibir also had chances, with Nikita Setdikov’s line causing problems with its pace, even when its shooting was somewhat awry. Anton Wedin also came close to scoring, only to be denied by the crossbar. However, the team also suffered another injury, with Nikita Korotkov becoming the fourth player hurt in this tournament alone. Without his energy, the Sibir offense quickly got bogged down and Loko was able to close out the win and claim third place in the tournament.
Lokomotiv head coach Andrei Skabelka
It was a good, hard-working game. The first and third period went in our favor, the second was Sibir’s. Overall, we played with defensive discipline and created a decent number of chances to score more than one goal. This is the end of our pre-season work. Now we have some time to recover and get ready for the season. Shalunov’s absence was our decision. He’s had a shortened pre-season and played three games in four days here. Shalunov took part in practice, took on a different workload and is now getting ready for the season.
Sibir head coach Andrei Martemyanov
In the first period we were defensive, not everything was going right in center ice. In the second we decided to go for a more attacking style. We have problems with our game on the slot and at the moment I’m not sure why. Our defensemen are starting to come up with things that they really shouldn’t be doing, and not everyone can survive on the slot. When we get home we’ll have a long look at the videos, I’ll take charge of that myself. We need to simplify our game and make it more practical.
Traktor Chelyabinsk 1 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 (0-0, 0-1, 1-2)
Avtomobilist took the trophy in Chelyabinsk, avenging yesterday’s loss against the host team with victory in the final. Traktor, perhaps superstitiously mindful of the fact that its previous victories in this tournament led to disappointing KHL seasons, made a sluggish start to the game.
The home team never really recovered from that. Avtomobilist had the better of the game but, for a long time, there was no scoring. Only in the final minute of the second period did the visitor break the deadlock with Patrice Cormier finding the net.
A power play early in the third enabled Brooks Macek to extend the lead, but Vladimir Tkachyov, back in the team after suffering an injury in the first game of the tournament, pulled a goal back almost immediately. Traktor put on the pressure in the closing stages, but was unable to save the game and Stepan Khripunov’s empty net goal ensured the trophy went to Yekaterinburg.
Avtomobilist head coach Bill Peters
Both sides played an awful lot of the game with unequal teams, so we saw a lot of the special teams on the ice. Both we and Traktor played good hockey. Jakub Kovar played the whole game today. We played a lot of hockey in the past five days, four games, plus overtime, and the most important thing is that everyone is healthy.
I’m also really happy that the team has such young players. Maxim Rasseikin is one of them. He came back from injury, so he missed part of our preparations and needed to train on his own. I’m pleased with how he played in this tournament. On defense, apart from Alexander Shchemerov, we liked how Valery Sitnikov played. Although on the coaching staff we really missed Nikolai Zavarukhin, who is usually in charge of our defense. We’ll see the young players who deserve getting their chance during the season.
Traktor head coach Anvar Gatiyatullin
We wanted to win and give our fans something to cheer. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. But now we have the information that we wanted. There’s not long until the start of the championship: in practice, we’ll tidy up a few things. The fact that Emil Garipov managed to play at least one game should give him confidence. We had to force his preparation — literally a week ago he stepped on the ice.
Vityaz Moscow Region 4 Kunlun Red Star 2 (1-1, 1-1, 2-0)
Kunlun Red Star’s huge win over Spartak yesterday meant that the Dragons could afford a three-goal loss here and still reach the final of the Mayor of Moscow Cup. However, if the organizers hoped for a CSKA vs Spartak showdown, that was still possible — but only in a classification game for fifth and sixth place, and only if Vityaz won here.
The teams met twice before this summer, and that familiarity perhaps influenced an evenly-fought game. There was little between the teams in the opening exchanges. In the first, Alexander Yaremchuk put Vityaz ahead, but Luke Lockhart scored on the power play to make it three goals in two games for him in this tournament. In the middle frame, Tyler Wong put Red Star ahead before the pacy Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov made it 2-2.
Only in the third did Vityaz manage to get ahead, with a great pass from Yaremchuk releasing Damir Musin to make it 3-2. Late in the game, despite being a man down, head coach Ivano Zanatta decided to withdraw goalie Alexander Lazushin and go all out for a tying goal. It was a bold gesture, but on this occasion fortune did not favor the brave. Ivan Larichev’s empty-net goal put the game beyond reach and ensured that Vityaz will finish second in the group and play for third place tomorrow.
Dynamo Moscow 3 Amur Khabarovsk 2 (0-1, 2-1, 1-0)
Dynamo secured its place in the Mayor of Moscow Cup final after edging Amur on a Dmitry Rashevsky goal midway through the third period. The Blue-and-Whites will face Kunlun in tomorrow’s final, while Amur takes on Vityaz for third place.
Dynamo had to fight to get there, though. Amur took an early lead through Nikita Pivtsakin and held the advantage until the first intermission. In the second stanza, though, Dynamo rallied. Vadim Shipachyov began to influence proceedings, assisting on goals for Oscar Lindberg and then Rashevsky to get in front. However, the Tigers hit back with a power play effort midway through the second when Dominik Masin tied the scores.
Rashevsky got the game winner in the 51st minute and Dynamo killed two penalties in the closing stages to preserve the slender lead and move to the tournament final.
SKA St. Petersburg 2 Severstal Cherepovets 3 (0-2, 1-1, 1-0)
SKA enjoyed a good start to its home tournament, defeating Sochi and Torpedo by identical 4-1 scorelines. Today, the Army Men restored 16-year-old prodigy Matvei Michkov to the line-up, joining Fyodor Svechkov and Danila Moiseyev on the third line. Severstal, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a 4-6 loss to Avangard.
The visitor struck first when Andrei Alexeyev pounced on a bad error from SKA to open the scoring in the third minute. And close to the interval, Igor Geraskin extended the Steelmen’s advantage. Early in the second SKA began to look more menacing, only for Robert Rooba to make it 3-0 on the counter attack in the 24th minute.
Finally SKA got back into the game. Two power play goals either side of the second intermission — Vladislav Kamenev and Anton Burdasov were the scorers — set up a tense third period. But Severstal held on to record the win despite an injury to defenseman Nikolai Timashov as young goalie Konstantin Shostak kept the home offense at bay.
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 6 HC Sochi 2 (3-1, 2-1, 1-0)
Torpedo got a welcome boost with the return of top forward Damir Zhafyarov. It took some time to agree a new contract with him and this was his first appearance of the summer. It was also good to see Alexei Murygin start the game; the goalie is back in pro hockey after overcoming cancer.
After a cautious start, the teams exchanged goals in the sixth minute, with Andy Miele putting Torpedo in front only for Nikita Feoktistov to respond immediately. But Torpedo finished the frame on top, with Mikhail Varnakov and Sergei Goncharuk scoring — the latter a short-handed goal — to make it 3-1 at the break.
Sochi reduced the deficit early in the second but Denis Vikharev’s effort was the last moment for the Leopards to celebrate. Anton Shenfeld struck on the power play to restore Torpedo’s two-goal lead before Goncharuk got his second of the night, this time at equal strength. Daniel Zaar wrapped it up on the power play in the third to complete a convincing win.