November 13, 2008

Traktor Chelyabinsk – Dinamo Riga, game preview

Traktor Chelyabinsk
vs. Dinamo Riga


Traktor Chelyabinsk after 23 games is placed 3rd in its Tarasov division and 9th in the overall standings – with 13 wins (1 after shootouts) and 10 loses (3 after SO, 1 after OT). The white bears (as the team also called due to the presence of this animal on the clubs logo) are well-known for their hockey style – rough, strength involving, sometimes rude; fights are also something you can see in Traktors’ performance. But the players are able not only to just wave fists, but also to show some really nice hockey. Traktors’ current position in the table is actually very good (and unexpected for many people). Thanks to Traktors’ accomplishments other teams have learned to respect this club, even fear it. The white bears are no longer counted as wash-outs, everybody takes the team seriously.

Huge credit in all of that belongs to Traktors’ head coach – Andrei Nazarov, a famous tough-guy in the past (it’s clear, why Traktor plays such kind of hockey, isn’t it? :-) ). Nazarov is quite a young trainer and considered as one of the most perspective ones in Russia. Nazarov took over Traktor in season 06/07, where the team finished 17th. In the last season they stopped at 14th place (out of 20).

It’s worth mentioning, that last season, January 2008, a massive, team-on-team, goalie-on-goalie fight happened, where the players of Traktor and Ak Bars Kazan made a world record on penalty minutes, gotten by two teams in one match – 403 (!!). :-)

Traktors’ this season leaders are: forwards – Andrei Nikolishin with 16 points (4 goals + 12 assists), Evgeniy Skachkov – 14 pts. (8+6), Aleksey Zavarukhin – 14 (6+8), also Evgeniy Galkin (6+7) and Oleg Kvasha (5+7); between defensemen – Oleg Piganovich – 11 pts. (2+9), Jan Platil – 7 (3+4), as well as Andre Lakosh and Aleksandr Sazonov.
Traktors’ main goalkeeper is Daniil Alistratov – 8 wins (1 shootout), 6 looses; 42 goals against, 88.4 % save percentage. The second goaltender is Sergey Mylnikov.

It’s going to be a hard game for Dinamo. Riga had the last game with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which it loose 3:5. Traktor, on the other hand, played its last match with Khimik Voskresensk – a 3:1 win. Its, probably, not right to compare teams, especially when they have such a large difference in class like Metallurg and Khimik, but I assume that Dinamo had a more difficult game than Traktor. That’s why I think, it’s going to be a little harder for Riga, even though it’s very difficult to say, which club will win. Nevertheless, our team has chances in getting points and I don’t live out the possibility of an over-time or shootouts.

Photos from Tractors official website.

Written by aglo

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