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Roman Rotenberg speaks after beating Torpedo in Nizhny Novgorod

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HC SKA press-service

HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:

- Our guys did a great job today. Torpedo are serious opponents, they like to play quick, technical ice hockey and score a lot of goals. We are starting to play a lot better after our recent virus. At the same time, though, we have things to improve. I would like to thank the fans for their support and the players for their commitment and character.

- SKA seemed to play with caution today, focusing on defence.

- We always play in accordance with our system, regardless of our opponents. We have to take into account that the rink is larger here in Nizhny Novgorod than in Saint Petersburg, we required time to adapt. It was easier for the opponents in this regard, it's their home arena and they like to play a passing game. Ice hockey requires you to play well both in defence and attack. Taking into account that we conceded twice today, we could have played better at the back. In the attacking zone, we managed to score plenty of nice goals, we had analysed their goaltender and found his weak spots. Adam Huska is a really strong goalkeeper, he has played in the NHL and at the World Championship. The guys responded well to the conversation which we had in the dressing room after the first stanza.

Roman Rotenberg speaks after beating Torpedo in Nizhny Novgorod

- Did SKA encounter some defensive issues today? Alongside their two goals, Torpedo created several big scoring opportunities.

- We want to play better in defence, our task is to not allow the opponents to shoot. It's always tricky when we play in Nizhny Novgorod and Yaroslavl, their rinks are larger and it takes time for us to adapt. We only held a morning skate before this game. I liked how we competed on special teams today, we managed to score on the PK, on the PP and at equal strength. It was a good performance, but not our best.

November has been a challenging month for us, but we've come through plenty of difficult situations both physically and psychologically. If we look at our game against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Thursday, we moved away from our plan, we didn't score enough goals from the crease. When we played CSKA, however, we won the battles on the slot and scored from there. We must block the goalkeeper's view and shoot more. It's a true team win, I'm really pleased that we managed to capitalise on our chances. The main thing is to improve the small details.

- Dmitry Nikolaev, Georgy Solyannikov and Nikolai Polyakov, who are all products of the SKA system, were on the ice for you in this match.

- We're happy that Nikolaev is starting to play at such a high level. Solyannikov is from Kolpino in Leningrad Region, the same can be said for Polyakov too. By the way, Polyakov's goal today was his first in the KHL. Furthermore, we have to point out that there are plenty of players from the SKA system competing in this league with other teams, Torpedo's Alexei Kruchinin used to play for us and Prokhor Poltapov of CSKA Moscow started his career in Saint Petersburg.

- You made a lot of creative line changes for this match.

- We wanted to increase the speed of our play. When we prepared for the campaign, we knew that our advantage was going to be our high tempo. Our goal is to skate even quicker out from defence towards attack. We have a lot of experience of competing in the playoffs, so we want to improve the details which will allow us to win. We're working hard with every player. All of our lines were fantastic today, we scored shorthanded, on the powerplay and at 5-on-5.

- Why didn't Mikhail Vorobyov play?

- We can't reveal all of the details, but we're hoping that he will be able to play in our next match on Tuesday. He played in all of our previous games before today's, but he's not a robot. When we have the chance to allow a player to prepare better for upcoming games, we need to take advantage of it. A long road is ahead of us. As a consequence, we have to be careful when it comes to squad rotation and make the correct decisions. We don't want players to become too tired either physically or mentally.

- When it comes to Nikita Popugayev, then why did you sign him?

- You saw today why we signed him! Nikita is a quick, aggressive forward. We can help him to take the next step. In the KHL, we don't have many right-handed forwards like Nikita, and he is a great shooter of the puck. He's young, energetic and always plays with commitment for the team. Life gave him a second chance in sport, and I am happy that he responded to his adversities in the right manner. As you saw in this game, he can make wonderful assists too!

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