Avangard vs. Traktor 3:4 (SO). Press-conference after the match

Valery Belousov, Traktor’s head coach:
Great back-and-forth match for the fans and a nerve-racking one for players and coaches. Tonight’s game showed we still have certain aspects of the game to improve at. In a playoff-like game like tonight’s mistakes that we made should not be allowed. With that said, I believe this will only work for the benefit of our team.

Petri Matikainen, Avangard’s head coach:
I would have to agree with my counterpart – the game was spectacular to watch. I am satisfied with some aspects of tonight’s match. I think we lost psychologically tonight. I have to give credit to our opponents though – they were very sharp attack-wise. As far as Avangard goes, we have a lot of things to think about and mistakes to correct.

Question to Matikainen: Tonight your counterpart chose a substitute goaltender. Would you venture to do the same thing and put Reizvikh in the net?

Matikainen: I understand that someday we will have to let the Russian goaltender play more, but as for tonight’s game, we chose Rämö over Reizvikh beforehand. Mezin, by the way, played a great game tonight; I would even go so far as to say that he stole the game from us.

Question to Belousov: Do you have any questions to any of your players?
Coaches are rarely satisfied with everyone’s performance; so, to answer your question, yes, I do, but I am not going to get personal here.

Question to Belousov: Why did you choose Mezin over Garnett for tonight’s match?
Andrey proved he’s someone we could rely on. Given that, now I’m considering shuffling the goalies for each game.

Question to Belousov: Traktor is paired up with Metallurg Magnitogorsk to play the two odd season matches. Are you tired of the everlasting struggle for power between Traktor and Metallurg?

Belousov: I am Traktor’s coach, and I think about my team.

Question to Belousov: So there’s no task to rank higher at the end of the season than Metallurg?

Belousov: No, absolutely not.

Question to Matikainen: Did you plan to have Semin execute a penalty shot in the shootouts or did you just pick the ones who were less tired?

Matikainen: I never compile a list of ‘shooters’ before the game, I do it on the fly. Semin was on the roll tonight, he scored twice and could score even more; that is why I decided to put him in penalty shootouts.

Question to Matikainen: Both teams kept the high pace of the game until the very end. How
would you explain it? Emotions?
Today two great teams squared off, each has great players; consequently the pace was high throughout the matchup.

Question to Matikainen: Do you think your second period timeout worked?
I don’t think so; I took a timeout because I saw that my players were somewhat floating around the ice aimlessly. It worked short-term, but then things got out of control again.

Photo courtesy of Avangard’s Press Office