Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
Russia u25 4 Avangard Omsk 3 (1-0, 0-1, 3-2)
Team Russia has been represented at every Sochi Hockey Open to date, but this was the first time the country sent an under-25 roster. Indeed, while 25 is the nominal age limit, only 24-year-old Alexei Ozhgikhin from SKA-Neva is close to it. The rest of the team was born firmly in the 21st century, with 17-year-old forward Matvei Michkov wearing the ‘C’.
For Avangard, Dmitry Ryabykin opted for an experimental roster that included several players looking to break into the first team this season. But there was plenty of interest in a first line that was centered by new import Alex Broadhurst, with fellow summer signing Vladimir Tkachyov alongside and young Arseny Gritsyuk on the other wing.
That line was perhaps the most noticeable on the ice, as much for its willingness to put in the hard shifts as its ability to conjure finesse plays. But there was a touch of class on view as well when Tkachyov tied the game on a swift counter attack in the second period.
Two quick goals for Team Russia put the Hawks in trouble at the start of the third, but Gritsyuk pulled one back and – just 21 seconds later – Reid Boucher tied it up once more.
Russia’s head coach Vladimir Filatov responded by calling a time-out, and that paid off. Dmitry Buchelnikov gave his team the lead for the third time. And this time, it was enough: Broadhurst took two penalties in quick succession to stall Avangard’s attempt at another fightback.
SKA St. Petersburg 4 Dinamo Minsk 1 (0-0, 2-1, 2-0)
There was no room for Dmitrij Jaskin in today’s SKA line-up, but Alexander Nikishin featured on defense after his headline-grabbing trade last week. Further summer signings Damir Zhafyarov and Marat Khairullin joined the first line with Marat Khusnutdinov centering them and wearing the ‘C’.
The first period was goalless, and the teams had contrasting fortunes. SKA enjoyed a huge territorial advantage but rarely looked like scoring; Dinamo rarely saw the puck, but carved out the two clearest chances on goal.
In the second period, the deadlock was broken. Stepan Zvyagin put Dinamo ahead, only for Zakhar Bardakov to respond almost immediately. Nikishin was among the assists on that one. Late in the middle frame, Mikhail Vorobyov put SKA ahead for the first time. And his day kept getting better. Early in the third he made it 3-1 before assisting on a late goal for Artyom Fyodorov to complete the scoring.
HC Sochi 2 Admiral Vladivostok 4 (1-1, 0-1, 1-2)
Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for Andrei Altybarmakyan and Colby Williams to get revved up. It might be a warm-up tournament, but that did not discourage the pair from dropping the gloves after just 10 minutes’ play.
The fight started shortly after Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov gave Admiral the lead. While the two combatants were sitting out their major penalties, Sochi tied it up through Sergei Tochitsky. After that, though, Admiral took control. Summer signings Rudolf Cerveny and Michal Kristof (2) sent the visitor sailing to a 4-2 victory.