Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 Dynamo Moscow 1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0)
For Salavat Yulaev, this was a big day. Not only was it the start of Ufa’s summer tournament, it was also a chance for home fans to get a first close look at Viktor Kozlov’s roster.
The first impressions were unfamiliar: Salavat adopted a retro uniform for the game, replacing the habitual green jerseys with a seldom-seen red, white and grey combo. The team was also something of an unusual sight. After years of Finnish imports in leading roles, Kozlov is building anew. Fresh imports Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Murphy and Alexander Chmelevski are still settling in; none played today and Ivan Drozdov, Alexander Kadeikin and Stanislav Bocharov formed the top line.
On the ice, the visitor took a first-period lead on a well-worked power play goal from Maxim Dzhioshvili. However, the second period saw a reversal of fortunes as Salavat Yulaev tied it up with a PP marker of its own. Summer signing Bocharov got the home team level.
In the final stanza, Andrei Kareyev was kept busy in the home net as Dynamo enjoyed two power plays in quick succession. However, the visitor could not take advantage and after five minutes of the frame Ufa went ahead thanks to Stepan Sannikov’s goal. That proved to be the winner, getting the host off to a bright start.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Severstal Cherepovets 3 (0-2, 1-1, 1-0)
Earlier on Wednesday, the opening game of the tournament saw defending champion Lokomotiv take on a Severstal roster that had a greater than usual emphasis on youth. Players like Ivan Yershov and Mikhail Ilyin, both born in 2005, got valuable game time against KHL opposition.
Loko, meanwhile, gave first starts to summer signings Ivan Chekhovich, Andrei Sergeyev and goalie Ivan Bocharov. However, it was Severstal that had the better of the opening exchanges, taking a 2-0 lead to the first intermission on goals from Alexander Zhabreyev and Dmitry Moiseyev.
Lokomotiv got back into contention at the start of the second period when Alexander Polunin halved the deficit. Severstal’s youngsters continued to impress, though, and 19-year-old Alexander Suvorov made it 3-1 late in the middle frame.
Despite a storm from the Railwaymen in the closing stages, Severstal held on to secure the win. Denis Alexeyev pulled one back in the final moments, but Loko could not save the game.
Traktor Chelyabinsk 4 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 (2-1, 2-1, 0-0)
Traktor followed up its 4-1 win over Metallurg with another success. This time Avtomobilist was the victim in a clash between yesterday’s winning teams.
Both coaches made sweeping changes, fully intending to check on the progress of as many players as possible at this tournament. However, in the first period, Traktor showed far greater teamwork and possibly deserved better than a 2-1 lead at the intermission. Alexander Shepelev opened the scoring midway through the session, only for a counterattack to bring Avto level thanks to Yegor Baranov. Right on the hooter, though, Sergei Telegin restored Traktor’s lead.
Midway through the third, Teemu Pulkkinen increased the advantage. Then the teams traded short-handed tallies, with Vladimir Kuznetsov on target for the Motormen before Kirill Kapustin made it 4-2. A goalless third period ensured that Traktor maintains a tight grip on top spot in the tournament standings.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Amur Khabarovsk 0 (0-0, 2-0, 1-0)
Disappointing in the tournament opener, Magnitka looked to its youngsters for rehabilitation and duly scored a shut-out win. The likes of Nikita Grebyonkin, Yury Platonov and Nikita Rozhkov, all looking to break into the KHL team this season, were given big roles against Amur – and they did not disappoint.
After a goalless opening frame, Andrei Chibisov opened the scoring with a somewhat freakish goal that undid the good first-period work of Amur goalie Dmitry Lozebnikov. After that, the young guns went for it. Rozhkov added a second late in the second period, and Grebyonkin potted a third to wrap things up in the 48th minute. Goalie Eddie Pasquale posted a shut-out to banish memories of a debut defeat yesterday
In addition, Magnitka’s youngsters even got a chance to show their mettle in a 3-on-5 penalty kill. As head coach Ilya Vorobyov said: “They played well today, so they went out on the PK. Second, we were up by three, so we could make this decision. And third, it’s a pre-season tournament. If we don’t look now, then when?”
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Sibir Novosibirsk 5 (1-3, 1-0, 0-2)
Alexander Sharov was the architect as Sibir took control midway through the first period. He assisted on goals for Michal Cajkovsky and Anton Shenfeld. Torpedo pulled one back thanks to Igor Larionov, whose summer form suggests that his place is not just down his famous name. That’s Larionov Jr’s third goal in two games playing under his father.
However, Sibir ended the opening frame with a third goal. Vyacheslav Osnovin struck to reinstate that two-goal cushion. Denis Vengryzhanovsky kept Torpedo in contention with a goal late in the second period, but Osnovin struck again to keep Sibir in control. Cajkovsky’s last-minute marker finished the job.
Torpedo slipped to its first loss of pre-season, but will get a chance for revenge when the teams meet again on Friday.