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SKA - Dinamo Minsk. Press-conference

Press-conferenceDinamo MinskValeri BraginSKA - Dinamo Mn - 011221
HC SKA press-service

SKA - Dinamo Minsk. Press-conference

HC SKA head coach Valeri Bragin:

- It was really important for us to win today in front of our fans, I would like to thank them for their fantastic support. The main thing is that we earned the victory.

- Why did SKA lose five home games on the bounce? Do you play differently here and on the road?

- No, we always play the same aggressive way.

- What can you say about Dmitry Nikolaev's performance in net?

- We're really happy for Dmitry, he waited a long time to receive his chance and he is working excellently.

- Why did you move down to two defensive partnerships in the third period?

- We wanted to win.

- Your thoughts on Georgy Solyannikov's debut for the senior SKA team in the KHL?

- He did well.

- When will fellow defensemen Oscar Fantenberg, Igor Ozhiganov and Vasily Tokranov return?

- Oscar will be out for a minimum of a week, but it's hard to say for the other two.

- SKA are competing in special retro jerseys based on the design from 1987.

- It's a great jersey, we really like it.

HC Dinamo Minsk head coach Craig Woodcroft:

- I think it was an extremely tight game. I really liked the way our team played tonight. We were a little cautious in the first period, we gave them too much respect and room. However, I thought that we took control of the match in the second and third frames, shutting them down. The difference was that we couldn't capitalise on our chances.

- How prepared were you for the first period?

- We were too cautious and respectful of SKA. It's a fine line with SKA: you have to respect them, but you cannot give them too much room. They only had six shots on net, and that was with three powerplays. They used their only chance created during those powerplays, a goal which was the result of our mistake. This is SKA, they have enough high-end talent to punish you.

- You played against SKA in the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs. Did that experience help you?

- I always respect SKA. The more you play against a team, the better you get to know them. They made a lot of changes after last season, but their style is mainly the same, only a little bit different. They focus on attacking and have elite skill. We had a lot of chances during the concluding minutes, though, especially when the puck was stuck on the line. That's the way it goes sometimes.

- No Minsk centre forward has a faceoff percentage over 50%. Is this a problem?

- Yes, it's an issue. We want to be a puck-possession based team, controlling the game. In order to do this, we have to win more faceoffs. But, if you're not aware, we currently have three wingers playing in the centre. We're doing the best we can.

- Why did you pull your goaltender so early? There were three minutes remaining in the third period.

- Because we were down a goal.

- According to the statistics, SKA were faster than you on the ice. How important was this factor?

- I'll have to look at that. Maybe they had some room to generate speed at the start of the game, or maybe they just have fast players.

- What positives can you take from this game?

- There's quite a few. We blocked a lot of shots, they only had one opportunity to score during their four powerplays, our performance in the second and third periods was positive and we had three or four clear chances in the last few minutes. We showed character to keep fighting throughout the match, sticking to the game plan.

- Your forward Vladimir Alistrov tallied five shots on target.

- He played the system in the right way, he has speed and is confident with the puck. We asked him to put pucks on net.

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