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KHL Preseason tournaments kick off

SKA, Avangard win the first challenges

The traditional tournaments in St. Petersburg and Ufa have been held in the last week.
The first tournament, the Puchkov memorial, seen six teams battle for the title, being them local SKA, Ak Bars Kazan, Severstal Cherepovets, Dinamo Moscow, HC MVD and Sibir Novosibirsk.

The first day of the tournament has been dominated by Timofei Shishkanov, who netted two goals and the winning shoot-out as SKA skated over HC MVD 4-3. Other games has been won by Ak Bars Kazan (over Severstal Cherepovets) and Dinamo Moscow (over Sibir Novosibirsk).

In the second day SKA had a stop as they couldn’t deal with Tony Mårtensson and Aleksei Morozov – their line scored three out of four goals – losing the match 2-4, with Dinamo conquering the first seed in the standings after the 2-1 victory against HC MVD. The day was completed by Sibir’s victory over Severstal 3-1.

At the end of the third day Dinamo was still leading the table despite their losing effort against Severstal, 3-2 the final score with a great comeback by the Cherepovets team, down 2-0 after two periods. SKA beaten Sibir 2-1 with a late goal by young Igor Misko, while HC MVD got their first points by surprisingly defeating Ak Bars Kazan 2-1.

After a single-day pause the tournament resumed the ice battles on August 5th. In the morning game Dinamo Moscow beaten the Kazan team 6-3 after a beautiful game, while in the other games Sibir skated past HC MVD 3-2 and SKA easily beaten Severstal 6-1.

With Dinamo Moscow at nine points and SKA at eight it was evident that the evening game of the last day would have been the decisive one. In the other two matches Ak Bars beaten Sibir 3-1, clinching the third place, and Severstal defeated HC MVD 4-3.
The SKA – Dinamo contest has been then conquered by the local team, who beaten the opponents with an impressive 5-1 score with the goals by Simakov, Shishkanov, Safronov and a double by Rychagov. Dinamo was up 0-1 with a goal by Afanasenkov after twenty two minutes, but couldn’t control the lead.

The following awards have been named after the last game of the tournament:
Best Goalkeeper: Vitali Eremeev (Dinamo)
Best Defenseman: Evgeny Medvedev (Ak Bars)
Best Forward: Timofei Shishkanov (SKA)

From August 5th to August 10th has been held another traditional tournament, the Cup of the President of Bashkiriya in Ufa. This tournament featured six teams, five Russians, Salavat Yulajev Ufa, Avangard Omsk, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Spartak Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk, and a Slovakian, HK 36 Skalica, already present last season. Just like Puchkov tournament, this pre-season challenge has been decided only on the last match, but let’s see the things on detail. This tournament was much awaited as it would have been the first one played by Jagr after his comeback in Russia.

In the first game of the tournament Avangard Omsk defeated Slovaks 6-3 with a spectatular hat-trick by Aleksei Cherepanov. Other games featured Salavat’s shut-out victory against Spartak, 2-0 the final score, and the victory of Metallurg Magnitogorsk over Traktor Chelyabinsk 5-4.

In the second day Salavat struggled to beat Skalica only with a 1-goal margin, 4-3, with a double by Aleksandr Radulov. Avangard replied with a 4-2 over Traktor and in the evening game Spartak skated away with a shocking 8-1 triumph over European Champions Cup reigning champions of Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

In the third day the tournament started being really interesting. Jaromir Jagr's first goal has been unuseful as Spartak with a very determined performance beaten Avangard 3-2. Traktor got their first win after defeating HK Skalica 3-2 in the OT and in the evening game Metallurg skated past Salavat 2-1. After three rounds the standings are really tight as four teams are tied at six points.

The standings have been spared in the fourth round as Spartak lost in the overtime to HK 36 5-4, while Avangard an Salavat beaten respectively Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk. With both teams paired at 9 points the last day will be decisive.

In the morning game Metallurg defeated HK 36 4-3 and in the afternoon Spartak beaten Traktor 4-3. The last game of the tournament is so the real final match between Avangard and Salavat. After 60 minutes of high-level hockey the teams are tied at two, but in the overtime after four minutes Pavel Rosa finds the right angle and scores, Avangard takes the game and the tournament.
The third place has been clinched by Spartak Moscow, followed by Metallurg Magnitogorsk, HK 36 Skalica and Traktor Chelyabinsk.

The awards have been:

Best Goalkeeper: Vadim Tarasov (Salavat)
Best Defenseman: Dmitri Ryabikin (Avangard)
Best Forward: Aleksandr Radulov (Salavat)
Top Scorer: Igor Mirnov (Metallurg)
Special Prize: Jaromir Jagr (Avangard)

Story added on 12th August 2008 at 07:49 GMT
Story submitted by: Alessandro Seren Rosso.

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