After Togliatti, the Bears have one more stop before coming to Zagreb for the big home opener. And just like the last one, TatNeft Arena in Kazan, where Ak Bars will play hosts tomorrow at 6 PM CEST, is one more arena Medvescak never concurred.
“We have a good atmosphere in the team. It means a lot to start with a win and it gives a certain boost. Especially when we know we’ve never won there. We had some time to rest, we’re refreshed and ready to go. We know that tomorrow we’ll face a tougher opponent,” Goran Bezina, Medvescak’s D-man said on the day before the game.
Tatarstan’s team had changed quite a bit during the summer, with 11 new players on board, but the biggest name was for sure is Czech Jiri Sekac who returned to Europe after spending two years in the NHL. He was brought in to spark offense and in the first game of the season, against Slovan Bratislava who scored the game winner. But, the style of the game remains the same for two times Gagarin Champions led by Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.
“We expect another fast paced game against a team with a lot of skill, they are also good defensively so every scoring chance we get, we will have to take advantage of. I think last game we didn't play our usual fast paced game and sat back a little bit. We can't do that against this team because they have a lot of skill and will make us pay if we don't take the game to them. We need to play simple and physical,” Alexandre Bolduc commented.
Bezina agrees with him and on Bears’ D for tomorrow he says: “The ice is bigger than the one in Togliatti, so there’s a lot more space to cover. We’ll have to be more compact and get out of our zone as quickly as possible. That’s one of our focus points for tomorrow. We have a lot of very good forwards who play with energy and speed and we need to take advantage of that and hold the pressure.”
Snow leopards have hosted the Bears three times and won all three games. From the two meets in the Ice Hall, points were equally divided. Last season, Ak Bars won by one goal, in spite of Medvescak’s late push and three goals in the final period.
According to Bolduc, the recipe for the first ever win in Kazan is:
“We need to get the puck past their defense and move the puck around the offensive zone, we have talent and speed and can be physical also, we will need to use all 3 to tire our their defense, we will need to shoot when we get the opportunity and always have at least one forward around the net. We won't get a ton of chances so like I said previously we will need to make our chances count.”
The game starts tomorrow at 6 PM CEST. Broadcast is announced on SportKlub 3 channel.