International Ice Hockey Federation

Arlan’s fast track to win

Arlan’s fast track to win

Kazakh champion beats Katowice 4-2

Published 11.01.2019 21:39 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Arlan’s fast track to win
Arlan Kokshetau's Vadim Berdnikov and Vadim Yermolayev put pressure on GKS Katowice goaltender Kevin Lindskoug. Photo: William Cherry
Kazakh champion Arlan Kokshetau opened the Continental Cup Final with a 4-2 win over GKS Katowice. The team had a good start with a 3-0 first-period lead.

Although shots on goal were just 5-3 in Arlan’s favour, the Kazakh team made it a clear lead after just 18 minutes of play thanks to three makers including two on the only power plays of the period.

The opening goal came with 5-on-5 though. Ivan Kiselyov brought the puck to the net where Konstantin Savenkov saw his first attempt saved but capitalized on his own rebound at 11:44.

During the first power play Vadim Berdnikov brought the puck from right to left where Stanislav Borovikov scored from behind the face-off circle. The second power play was evenly successful. After a double pass play between Dmitri Potaichuk and Ivan Kiselyov the former made it 3-0.

“It was a good game. We started not bad and scored three goals. After that we had a couple of penalties but in the third period we played very solid, focused on the game and scored one more goal to win the game,” Berdnikov said.

“We were not surprised about the good start. We scored the goals because we worked on it.”

Katowice had the big chance to get a goal closer when Arlan was assessed two minor penalties within just eight seconds early in the second period. With Yevgeni Gasnikov and Vadim Berdnikov sitting in the sin bin Katowice made pressure and scored. In a co-production of the Finnish imports Janne Laakkonen passed back to defenceman Niko Tuhkanen, who scored Katowice’s first goal.

Three-and-a-half minutes later the world looked even better for the Poles. Jesse Rothla pushed through the Arlan defence and beat Ivan Poloshkov from a short distance.

“They capitalized on their power-play opportunities. We made a few defensive mistakes early. The other side is that I’m really proud of my team that we battled back. We scored two quick ones in the second period and were back in it,” said GKS Katowice head coach Tom Coolen.

“It was a close matc and unfortunately we gave up that fourth one on a bad line change. On a good night some of those puck go in and we win this game. We played at their level. We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. Based on what I’ve seen, we’ll be in the hunt to win this tournament.”

There were still almost 33 minutes to play in regulation time but for Arlan it was a wake-up call and the team defended its lead. On a two-on-one they sealed the win with 5:39 to go. Denis Klemeshov passed from the right to Alexander Nesterov, who sent the puck back for Klemeshov, who scored the final 4-2 goal.

Arlan is on the hunt to become the first IIHF Continental Cup winner from Kazakhstan and will play HK Gomel from Belarus tomorrow. Can they make it? “We will see. It depends on the other games. We will try our best to win this tournament,” Berdnikov said.

A rematch against host Belfast Giants awaits GKS Katowice tomorrow evening. “I know that they want to beat us and feel they have a great shot at winning this Continental Cup – and they do. I expect another very challenging game for our team,” Coolen said.


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