While the KHL has taken a break for the Olympics, Ilya Samsonov and the Metallurg Magnitogorsk hockey club did not take a break from hockey. The team, sans its Olympians, participated in the Davos Hockey Summit, a tournament held at the Vaillant Arena in Davos, Switzerland from February 15-18. The tournament included three other teams: Dynamo Riga from the KHL, Ocelari Trinec from the top Czech league, and HC Davos from the Swiss National League.
Metallurg was a greatly diminished team due to the Olympics, as they were missing forward Sergei Mozyakin (Russia), Vasily Koshechkin (Russia), Chris Lee (Canada), Wojtek Wolski (Canada), Jan Kovar (Czech Republic), and Oscar Osala (Finland).
The main purpose of the tournament was for teams to get in some game action at the time the Olympics were being held, given that most European hockey leagues cease action during the Olympics. The tournament was a Round Robin format, with each of the teams playing each of the other three teams once.
The schedule for Metallurg Magnitogorsk was as follows:
Thursday February 15, 2018 – Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Dynamo Riga at 8:00 p.m.
Friday February 16, 2018 – Davos – Metallurg Magnitogorsk at 8:00 p.m
Saturday February 17, 2018 – Ocelari Trinec – Metallurg Magnitogorsk at 8:00 p.m
Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Dynamo Riga – February 15, 2018
Ilya Samsonov was the starter for Metallurg In this game. The first period of the game was a goaltenders’ duel between Samsonov and his counterpart for Riga. The early part of the game featured many great saves by both goaltenders.
Riga registered the game’s first goal about four minutes into the second period. Samsonov had made a great save but then Max Indrasis of Riga knocked in a rebound for the first score of the game. Indrasis added his second goal of the game with about 4 minutes left in the period. Riga added a third goal with less than a minute into second period, when Mix assisted on a goal by Brandon McMillan. The score was 3-0 in favor of Riga which remained the final score.
For the game, Samsonov made 24 saves in 27 shots. While he was the losing goaltender, he received the most votes for Magnitka’s Player of the Game.
Davos – Metallurg Magnitogorsk – February 16, 2018
Samsonov once again started in goal for Metallurg. Metallurg opened the scoring with five minutes left in the first period when Denis Kazionov scored. The score was 1-0 after one period.
The second period was similar to the first. Davos had plenty of chances but Samsonov made many spectacular saves to prevent them from scoring. Hence, the score remained 1-0 after two periods.
Metallurg added two goals during the third period when Kazionov scored his second goal of the game seven minutes into the period. The team added their third goal with slightly less than three minutes to go in the game when Egor Korobkin scored. This put Magnitka up 3-0 which remained the final score for the game. In this game, Samsonov saved all 17 shots that he faced. On the whole, it was a good rebound game for Magnitka after their loss of the previous day.
Ocelari Trinec – Metallurg Magnitogorsk – February 17, 2018
The final opponent for Metallurg in the tournament was the Ocelari team from the city of Trinec. As had been the case in the previous two games of the tournament, Samsonov was in goal for Magnitka. Magnitka opened up the scoring about eleven minutes into the period when a young forward by the name of Pavel Dorofeev scored a goal, which was his first career goal with the team. Metallurg Magnitogorsk was now ahead 1-0. They maintained that lead through the end of the period.
Early in the second period, Denis Platonov scored to increase the lead to 2-0, getting an assist from his son, Yuri, in the process. But less than a minute later, Ocelari scored and narrowed the lead to 2-1. They tied the game with about six minutes left in the period. But then two minutes later, Magnitka pulled ahead again – on a goal by Alexander Budkin. The score was now 3-2.
During the third period, Magnitogorsk added two more goals, one about eight minutes into the period and another with just over three minutes to go in the game. Magnitka led 5-2. Ocelari added their third goal with half of a minute to go in the contest but it was too little too late for them. The final score was 5-3 in a relatively wild affair. Samsonov saved 29 of the 32 shots made by Ocelari.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk was 2-1 in the tournament, winning the remaining games after dropping their first game in a shutout. Samsonov, playing in all three games, made 69 saves out of 75 shots for a save percentage of .920. He was a true workhorse in this series, playing three games in three consecutive days.
While Magnitka was the favorite going into the tournament, in the end they settled for second place. Head coach Viktor Kozlov was satisfied with the team, saying. “Of course we want to win wherever we appear. However, we primarily use the Hockey Summit for a ten-day hard training camp to prepare for the playoffs. Every day we worked hard in the Vaillant Arena. That’s why my players in the games were not as lively as usual. The stay in Davos had been great, however, and the purpose was completely fulfilled”
The KHL resumes regular season action on February 26th.
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By Diane Doyle