The first day of the 9th Gazprom Neft Cup KHL Kids Hockey Tournament is in full swing! All 25 teams have already played at least one game, and a few even have had two games of the group stage under their belts.
In the East Group in Omsk, the first through was Avtomobilist. After a strong win over Metallurg from Novokuznetsk (7:2), and losing in a pitched battle against Traktor (4:5), the young Yekaterinburg players now need to wait for a head-to-head between their erstwhile opponents in order to see their further rival in the tournament. If Traktor wins, then first place will go to the Chelyabinsk team. If the ‘blacksmiths’ win, then in order to determine the group leader the goals scored and allowed will be counted. The game between Traktor and Metallurg will open tomorrow’s programme at the Avangard hockey centre.
So far the tensest game of the day has been the fight between Yugra and Rubin. Regular time ended with a 2:2 draw, and it took six rounds of penalty shootout to determine the winner.
The Neftekhimik—Barys game saw the first hat trick of the 2015 Gazprom Neft Cup in the East Group. Nizhnekamsk striker Kamil Galimullin needed just seventeen minutes to make it happen — he scored three goals between the twenty-second and thirty-nine minutes.
In the West Group, there have been more hat tricks, managed by Nikita Tryapitsyn (Torpedo) and Ivan Miroshnichenko (Vityaz) on Friday and by Ivan Yanchenko (Dinamo, Minsk) and Nikita Shalimov (CKA) today.
The St Petersburg “army boys” are so far the main cause for concern in the West Group. The tournament hosts, who have not previously been favourites in the Gazprom Neft Cup, opened their first game against Dinamo (Riga) with a thundering 11:1 win, so far the biggest score in the tournament. However, the St Petersburg team has their biggest test ahead — this evening in the Ice Palace they will be meeting two-time Cup winners, Moscow CSKA.