Games in the East Group at this year’s Gazprom Neft Cup began at 9:00 am local time at the Omsk Arena with a match between Sibir from Novosibirsk and Barys from Astana. The Siberians quickly took the initiative led by Ilya Kogikin, who notched up a whole five points in the first game of the Tournament.
The strong and well-built forward Kogikin stands out in the Novosibirsk side, with his smooth skating technique and grasp of the game, and the team coach Sergei Akimov is well aware of it:
“Ilya is a smart boy with a lot of character. He’s one of the leaders in our team and he showed it today — good for him!”
This was the match against Barys (6:3) where Ilya scored 5 points.
“5 points by one player doesn’t happen often,” the coach said.
The hero of the match was happy with his achievement, but didn’t want to make too much of it:
“I tried my best, played my position and did what the trainer told us. I was looking for a hat-trick, but I’m not playing for myself, I play for the team.”
Kogikin’s passing play with teammates isn’t spontaneous, but strategic:
“Me and Bachurin haven’t been playing together for long. We agreed to play passes, tried our best, and it worked.”
The Sibir number 39 told us about his personal aim, which is nothing if not ambitious:
“I really want to be the top scorer of the Tournament, but I’ll have to work hard to achieve it,” the forward said.
Sergei Akimov thinks Kogikin could do it thanks to his mature play and technical skills:
“When we scored the fifth goal he and Bachurin played a two-in-one. Ilya feigned a pass and shot the puck into the near corner. He’s got the knack, he’s an intuitive player,” the trainer said.