Champions stunned in KHL opener
One day old, and the third KHL league season has already thrown up a shock, with defending champions Ak Bars humbled by merger club UHC Dinamo in the Opening Cup.
According to the league’s rules, the champion always faces last year’s runners-up in the very first game of the new season.
The KHL's only winners, Ak Bars Kazan were the clear favorites on home ice, but the amalgamation of Dinamo Moscow and MVD upset the odds courtesy of a superb opening period.
Mikhail Balandin gave visitors the lead with an accurate shot from the blue line on the 16th minute, 1-0. And some 20 seconds later Juraj Kolník doubled Dinamo’s lead, sending the champs into shock they were never able to recover from.
The Muscovites increased their lead to 3-0 early in the second, with Dominik Granak being on the end of a lovely combination in powerplay.
Janne Pesonen got one back for AK Bars in the third period, but it was all Dinamo allowed the Kazan team to achieve.
“We’ve beaten one of the best teams in the KHL. I think we managed to play better in beginning of the match, managing to create chances and take advantage of them. In the second and third periods, we weren’t that good, but the victory is ours, and it is most important thing,” author of Dinamo’s winner, Juraj Kolník, told Sportbox.ru.
The Opening Cup goes to Moscow, and for the first time in its history the trophy is not taken by the champions.