Five days are left until the new year, but gifts for Khabarovsk residents, those who love Canadian hockey, have already begun to be distributed. The role of Santa was played by the one from whom this was least expected – the Khabarovsk “Amur”. Khabarovsk players suffered very offensive defeats for five matches in a row. Primorsky “Admiral”, Nizhnekamsk “Neftekhimik”, Yaroslavl “Lokomotiv” – all left Khabarovsk, gaining points and leaving almost nothing to the owners.
However, already in the previous game with the Yaroslavl team, it was clear that the Far East from the banks of the Amur finally woke up and are ready to fight for victory even with the teams from the top of the championship table. An excellent chance to demonstrate this presented itself a day later – the leader of the West conference, St. Petersburg SKA, arrived in Khabarovsk and, to be honest, Amur was not the favorite in this match.
Since 2007, the Khabarovsk team regularly lost to the team from St. Petersburg and it seemed that the “tigers” were unable to break this tradition, especially after a series of defeats. Nevertheless, the team in a black and orange kit went out on the ice with a clear desire, if not to win, then at least to fight to the end, proving to the haters that it was too early to bury Amur.
For Mikhail Kravets himself, this game became twice principled, firstly, he himself was from the city on the Neva, and secondly, he began his coaching career at Amur with a defeat against SKA, promising then that there would still be victories and stating at the post-match press conference to journalists who compared Amur to a hippopotamus drowning in a swamp: “We are not hippos, we are tigers.”
Nevertheless, the first goal against Evgeny Alikin in this match was scored by all hockey players from St. Petersburg. It happened on the 18th minute of the meeting, when SKA was in the majority. Andrei Kuzmenko, who received a pass from his partners, drove around the goalkeeper’s gates from Khabarovsk and threw him straight into the far, uncovered corner of the goal.
“Cupid” did not give up and scored a minute and a half before the end of the period. Gleb Zyryanov equalized the score. In the second period SKA again found itself in the majority – the Amur defender fouled, who simply had no choice, the army’s sharp attack had to be stopped by any means. It was hoped that the Khabarovsk team would survive, but the team from St. Petersburg did not leave them a chance. This puck was chalked up by Anton Burdasov in the 30th minute of the match.
And again, the “Tigers” showed a real Far Eastern character, dangerously attacking the gates of Dmitry Nikolaev. The pressure resulted in the result in the 54th minute of the match. Higher forces supported the attacking impulse of the Khabarovskites, and the puck somehow incredibly leaked into the gates of the army, finding after Alexander Gorshkov’s throw a barely noticeable gap between the bar and the goalkeeper’s skate.
The owners did not stop there. There were just over five minutes left before the final siren, when now the Khabarovsk players were in the majority, which was realized by Sergey Tereshchenko with a powerful throw. The following five-minute period turned out to be very difficult for the Tigers. SKA began a real assault on Evgeny Alikin’s goal. It became very dangerous after SKA changed the goalkeeper for the sixth field player. But the Khabarovsk residents still held out, presenting a New Year’s gift to their fan.
– Nice match from both sides. Double-edged with an abundance of moments, I think the audience liked it, – said Valery Bragin, head coach of HC SKA, at the post-match press conference. – It was very nice to hear here, in Khabarovsk, support from the fans, we are very grateful to them for this, but we conceded unnecessary goals, and therefore lost. Of course, they knew that the enemy had a series of defeats, they would come out “from the knife”, especially against SKA.
Mikhail Kravets began his commentary on the game with the leaders with a short musical introduction, drumming the winning roll on the tabletop, which speaks of the very good mood of the Amur head coach. It is not surprising – Amur has not been able to outplay the team from St. Petersburg for 14 years, today it did.
– In the last game I said that the guys played very well with Lokomotiv, today it was even better, against a very strong team, – said Mikhail Kravets, head coach of HC Amur. – The guys played today with a kind of New Year’s mood. A very good game from our side against a strong opponent. Completion of the assignment, desire, discipline – all that was needed to win. We asked them not to upset themselves, their families, fans, and of course the coaches in the final game of this year, and they did it. Even if there were some other result, the game from our side was still very good and of high quality. You never stop wondering where we were five days ago, six days ago, when we played against Admiral, when we played against Neftekhimik. God grant that we are hooked on this game, have a few days’ rest and get ready for the next derby. This is the most important thing for us now.
Mikhail Kravets turned to the fans asking them to understand and support their team.
– Thanks to all the fans for their support. I hope many will learn to endure, hurt and help, and not discuss, offend, say that the team “sucks”. The work is very hard here in Khabarovsk, the guys also have recessions, ups and downs, and everyone needs support and help. Positive people play better and give all their strength and health to win. If you “spread rot” people that they are “dead” and “weak”, in the end they will really become like that and no one will ever see victories in Khabarovsk, – said the head coach of “Amur”.
Now Amur is taking a short break in the championship. The team will return to the ice as early as January 3 in an away match with the same “Admiral”.
Source From: MK