Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
In exhibition action, Igor Larionov took charge of Torpedo for the first time and enjoyed a 6-2 victory over Traktor. Amur and Avtomobilist also won their warm-up games.
Russia U25 3 Dinamo Minsk 5 (3-2, 0-2, 0-1)
Dinamo Minsk outlasted Russia’s youngsters, but had to recover from 1-3 to secure its first victory of the Liga Stavok Sochi Hockey Open.
Despite taking an early lead through Igor Martynov, Minsk found itself behind after allowing two goals in 25 seconds. Danila Yurov added a third in the 14th minute to put Dinamo in all sorts of trouble.
However, Craig Woodcroft’s team played its way back into the game. Roman Gorbunov grabbed an important goal late in the first period, reducing the deficit to a single tally. Then a power play chance saw Pavel Varfolomeyev tie it up midway through the second. When Gorbunov got involved in a power play goal for Vladimir Alistrov, the Bison had a lead that they would not relinquish. Varfolomeyev wrapped it up with his second of the game; Team Russia was left to worry about the fitness of captain Matvei Michkov, who suffered an injury in a heavy but legal hit from Alexei Emelin.
SKA St. Petersburg 6 Admiral Vladivostok 2 (3-0, 1-2, 2-0)
If the opening game produced a hard-fought contest, the second was rather more one-sided. SKA followed up an opening 4-1 win over Dinamo with another convincing success to consolidate top spot in the standings.
The Sailors only briefly threatened to make a game of it. Artyom Gareyev’s double in the middle frame kept SKA honest, but Daniil Pylenkov scored a fourth at the other end to maintain a substantial lead.
In the final frame, Zhafyarov potted two more to complete his hat-trick. Following Russia U25’s earlier loss, that was enough to put SKA clear at the top of the table as the only undefeated team at the competition.
HC Sochi 4 Avangard Omsk 6 (2-2, 0-3, 2-1)
Zhafyarov was not the day’s only hat-trick hero. Avangard’s Reid Boucher also potted a treble to lift the Hawks to a comfortable victory over HC Sochi. However, his achievement was overshadowed by a tempestuous first period littered with fights.
In that opening frame, the teams traded blows after just four seconds with all 10 starting players handed fighting majors. Five minutes later, battle was renewed and four more players from each team were sent to the box. For Avangard’s Christian Jaros and Sochi’s Artyom Ivanyuzhenkov this was a second bout and both players were ejected from the game. In total, the teams compiled 149 minutes of penalties in the first period and 165 from the entire game.
In between fights, Avangard twice went in front in the first period – goals from Boucher after 63 seconds and Semyon Astashevsky midway through – only for the Leopards to hit back through Artur Tyanulin and Kirill Petkov. But the middle stanza belonged to the Hawks: Boucher scored twice more and Fyodor Malykhin made it 5-2 just before the intermission.
Sochi made a bright start to the third, but Vasily Glotov’s goal was quickly matched by one from Vladimir Zharkov at the other end. Tyanulin converted a penalty shot to keep home hopes alive but Avangard closed out the win with little further alarm.
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 6 Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 (5-1, 0-0, 1-1)
Igor Larionov’s first game behind the bench at Torpedo ended in victory, with the Professor’s new class defeating Traktor 6-2. Five of those goals came in a commanding first period performance that saw summer signing Nikolai Kovalenko plunder 3 (1+2) points. Nikolai’s father, Andrei, was a team-mate of Larionov’s for Russia at 2002 Olympics; the two also briefly crossed paths at CSKA in the late 1980s.
Despite the big win, Larionov refused to get overexcited. “I wouldn’t regard this game as some great success,” he said. “It’s a training game, we gave our youngsters a chance to test themselves in front of our fans. It was a good game and I’m happy with the work that the guys have put in. It wasn’t a bad spectacle, all in all.”
Spartak Moscow 3 Amur Khabarovsk 4 OT (0-0, 2-2, 1-1, 0-1)
Spartak began its pre-season campaign against an Amur team that recently appointed Vadim Yepanchintsev as head coach. Yepanchintsev’s last job in the KHL was with the Red-and-Whites, and he saw his new team rally from 0-2 to defeat his former colleagues.
The home team got ahead in the second period. A power play goal from Maxim Krovyakov broke the deadlock and Dmitry Zlodeyev doubled the lead with a short-handed effort. Amur, however, struck back in the closing minutes of the stanza. A five-on-three power play helped Andrei Alexeyev reduce the deficit before Ignat Korotkikh’s point shot surprised the Spartak goalie and tied the game.
In the third, the teams again traded goals. Pavel Kukshtel, one of the new arrivals at Spartak following last week’s big trade involving Alexander Nikishin, redirected Yegor Savikov’s effort into the net. However, Amur responded once again and Alexander Sharov tied the scores before Viktor Baldayev won it in overtime.
Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-1)
Ufa is still awaiting its imports, and many of Salavat Yulaev’s brightest youngsters were unavailable for this game. Avtomobilist, meanwhile, played its first game since before the Olympics and had to adapt to life without Alexei Makeyev. Yekaterinburg’s forward suffered a long-term injury in training.
The opening exchanges were typical of summer hockey, with both teams visibly lacking in recent game action. Things improved in the second period, with Avtomobilist finally opening the scoring midway through the game when Maxim Denezhkin struck on the counter.
The third session saw Salavat Yulaev tie the game through Vladislav Kartayev, with summer signing Evgeny Timkin among the assists. However, Avto soon regained the lead on goal credited to Anatoly Golyshev. In truth, this was an ‘own goal’, caused by a breakdown in the home defense.