By Richard Lawrence
TD Place arena lit up as several hundred spectators, mostly Russian, cheered on the Embassy of the Russian Federation hockey team, the Red Machine, as they embarked on the first game of the 2019 edition of the Friendly Series Hockey games against the Esprit de Corps Commandos hockey team. This series is played in good spirits with a passing nod to the 1972 Summit Series which pitted the then U.S.S.R. against Canada for hockey domination.
Before we get too far into this it should be noted that not every player on the Red Machine team was Russian, using a few Canadians to fill out their complement and field a strong team. As well, Commandos were strong having a goalie with the name “Tretiak” on the back of his sweater and despite missing two key players in Ryan Lediett and Adam Peace.
The game started quickly with the teams coming out and only getting two minutes of warmup time before lining up for the national anthems, player introductions, and the ceremonial puck drop. Then it was into the first of the three 15 minutes periods which was marked by quick skating and crisp puck handling with each team marching back and forth and lines exchanging on the run. By the end of the first period the score was 0-0 showing how evenly matched the teams were. After a couple of minutes rest, the teams went out for the second period.
The second period was a mirror image of the first until with 5:54 to go, the Red Machine potted a goal. The Commandos fought back for the rest of the period but the second ended 1-0 for the Red Machine. The third period was no different in that both teams attacked relentlessly giving both goalies good workouts. With the Red Machine still ahead with 1:30 to go in the third, Commando captain, Scott Taylor, pulled the goalie for the extra player on the ice but the Red Machine managed to hang on for the win with the final score being 1-0.
At the reception following the game the series trophy was awarded to the Russian coach, Vladimir Proskuryakov, by the Russian Ambassador and the MVPs were named. For the Commandos, goalie Tim Dickenson (Tretiak) was selected by the Russians as the Commando most valuable player and for the Red Machine, the Commandos chose goalie Brandon James as the MVP with Evgeny Petrenko being selected as the MVP – Russian born.
All-in-all it was an exciting, well played, well matched game, played in the home of the Ottawa 67s, where the crowd of several hundred overwhelmingly Russian fans were treated to excellent entertainment.
To see all of the pictures, go to: