Mikhailov draws a point in his debut
Game Recap: SKA - Ak Bars

OCT.3 -- First coach has been fired in the RSL this season, as hours prior to the game 58-year old Boris Mikhailov was named SKA St-Petersburg new head coach. In favor of former Russian National coach 72-year old Nikolai Puchkov was dismissed, but simultaneously Puchkov has been appointed as the head coach of SKA Junior Hockey School.
   It's Mikhailov's fourth coming to Saint-Petersbourg. He coached SKA for three seasons early in the eighties after finishing his playing career, followed by six year stint as head coach in the 90th and a short stint as coach-consultant late in 98/99 season.
   The decision for coaching change drew some negative reactions from SKA fans, as they first thought the organization lacked patience and respect towards Puchkov. Than both coaches have different approach to the game. Mikhailov is highly conservative coach. His teams always play boring trapping hockey, meantime under Puchkov's sight this season SKA played entertaining offensive oriented brand of game. Albeit, the results were little impressive to the club management, as after six games SKA had just seven points.
    Beside almost sure warranty that SKA players will play hard in order to impress their new bench boss, there was another interesting pretext to the game. Ak Bars head coach Yuri Moiseev got ill and it was Vladimir Plyuschev running the show behind Kazan's bench. Therefore, we had former Russian national coach versus the current.
    In spite of zeros on scoreboard SKA outshot and outchanced Ak Bars in the opening period, but after the intermission the visitors turned up the tempo outshooting SKA 19 to 3 and hitting a pair of posts. Thanks to a stellar performance from Sergei Naumov SKA trailed only by a goal at the second intermission. Sergei Zinoviev got the period's loan tally beating Naumov with a shot from a "zero angle".
    The home side came back strong in the third period. Alexei Koznev and Vladimir Petrov missed on good opportunities before Alexei Tsvetkov scored the equalizer.
    The game went into overtime - a point against RSL leaders was already a sound achievement for Mikhailov's squad. That's probably why SKA players didn't seem much disappointed when Alexei Tertyshny ended the ensuing period in Ak Bars favor sending the puck with a powerful slapper under the cross-bar.

-- Max Dostoevsky

(C) RSB