ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Russian champions remain undefeated at the European Champions Cup tournaments. Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s 3-0 was the tenth consecutive win after Avangard Omsk, Dynamo Moscow and Ak Bars Kazan had won three games each.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk and MODO Ornskoldsvik started in a fast and high-level game both aiming the final. While both tried to show good hockey, it was the Russians who created far more scoring chances while the Swedes could seldom complete their offensive actions. Igor Mirnov opened the score at 8:51 and Metallurg remained the better team. At 16:49, Nikolai Kulemin surprised MODO’s Czech goalkeeper Karol Krizan, who could not finish a save sufficiently and had to see the puck behind him a second time.
At 31:24, Jan Marek and later in a power play Denis Platonov missed the best scoring chances to lead by more goals. The Russians remained dominating and to the end of the second period, the concentration was getting worse on the other side. Jaroslav Kudrna did it better at 38:00 when he deked a defenceman to defeat Krizan, who was chosen best player along with the opposite goalie Travis Scott, the third time. The last period did not change anything on the result.
The fact that MODO had not many chances, was another disappointment for Swedish hockey, where it is commonly believed that the Swedish Elitserien is the best league in Europe. MODO’s defeat was the ninth of a Swedish team at the European Champions Cup. “The Russian league might be better now with all the money in. The last couple of years, the Swedish teams who were here had problems at home,” explains MODO head coach Harald Luckner, “but we were feeling well as we had won five consecutive games up to now. We had two good periods but I’m not satisfied with the first one and they were better in goal scoring.”
Metallurg could be happy with the result but head coach Valeri Postnikov strives for more: “We were nervous and couldn’t show our best game, but at least we could prevent the Swedes to show their best game.”
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