Local Omsk team Avangard-2005 (or the “Hawks”, as they are known) recently took part in the Alexei Cherepanov Memorial Tournament, against host team Altai (Barnaul), Sokol (Krasnoyarsk) and Metallurg (Novokuznetsk), winning all three matches. Victor Arkhipov’s protégés sent 29 pucks into rivals’ nets, while conceding nine. The youngsters summed up the tournament for us, and gave us their views on the most exciting matches.
Yaromir Ermakov, captain, Avangard-2005:
— We put a lot into training for this tournament, both in the gym and on the ice, splitting into two teams for scrimmage matches, as well as playing in friendlies. These were pretty serious opponents, so it was nice to win all our matches. Things got pretty tricky against Barnaul’s Altai — 4:2: we didn’t score that many goals, so were fighting for victory right to the end. We beat Novokuznetsk 12:4. But the best match was the last one of the tournament, against Sokol, which we won by a pretty serious margin, of 13:3.
— So this tournament — was it good training for the Gazprom Neft Cup?
— Yes, our coach had told us about it, and we’re all conscious the main tournament of the season is coming up. Danny Kulyash, who played in the Gazprom Neft Cup last year, came with us to Barnaul. It feels like he’s used to playing with older guys — it’s obvious in the way he plays, as much as in his results: Danny was definitely the best scorer. It’s good that he’ll be able to give us some help in April.
Egor Gladkikh, forward, Avangard-2005:
— We put a real effort into every match, defeating all opponents, scoring lots of goals, and securing a hard-won first place. The most difficult match was against tournament hosts Altai — they were seriously motivated, and had loads of fans in the stands, so it was tough playing against them. But we were more than ready for it, and we won! We went to some of the other teams’ matches, and were simply amazed at the level of play! Obviously, all the teams in the tournament are pretty strong, so winning every match wasn’t easy. And we met Alexei Cherepanov’s mum, who gave us a pep talk, and told us she was hoping for fair play, and no injuries. Then we all paid our dues to Alexei and Metallurg Junior Hockey League captain Alexander Orekhov. It’s a real shame about both of them.
Andrei Gaas, defender, Avangard-2005:
— It’s great that we were able to beat all our rivals, but that wasn’t the main thing. The most important thing for us now is making sure we’re ready for the Gazprom Neft Cup. Winning this — that’s the real goal for us, and if you have goals in sport then you have to work at them, all the time. We’re putting everything into our training and our matches, each of us learning how to achieve our goals, because that’s the only way to win. For example — as a defender my role is to defend the goal, and close off the area around it; and I’d say I did this at the Cherepanov Memorial Tournament pretty well!