Cup brought to Chekhov
Vityaz club, from Russian Chekhov, has won the first hockey tournament in Minsk dedicated to the memory of the captain of the Belarusian team, who died in a plane crash: Ruslan Salei
By Valentin Orlov
In the final match, the Russians faced Dinamo Minsk and their defeat of Metallurg Zhlobin meant that they could win even with a loss of two goals. Dinamo, which had lost to the champion of Belarus, simply aimed to do its best. Defeat would leave the team to prepare for the start of Continental Hockey League.
In the 10th minute, the score was opened by Vyacheslav Kulemin, who sent Dinamo fullback Jonas Frogren sprawling on the ice; he flicked the puck past goalkeeper Kevin Lalande in a cool fashion. A few minutes later, Dinamo equalised, taking advantage of two of their opponents being sent off the ice. The situation was only temporary however; just 31 seconds later, Artemy Panarin sent the puck into the net. Shortly before the end of the first period, Dinamo’s Andrey Stas took a two-minute penalty, leaving guest forward Andrey Posnov to increase Vityaz’s lead, establishing a final score of 3:1.
Dinamo had a few chances to redeem itself but coach Kari Heikkila and fans were left disappointed on the eve of the new season. Mr. Heikkila notes, “Our rivals used their opportunities while we didn’t. One goal is insufficient. However, despite our defeat, today had positive aspects. The result is not as important as our teamwork.” The wife of former Belarusian hockey team captain Ruslan Salei, Bethann, spoke of her husband at the closing ceremony, thanking the audience, players and organisers, as well as the family and friends of Ruslan, who supported her after her husband’s death last September; his plane crashed near Yaroslavl. She noted that her heart would remain in Minsk. The older brother of Ruslan, Vadim, presented the winners from Chekhov with their cup. The event is to be held annually from now on.