The Green Derby is one of the hallmarks of the Kontinental Hockey League. The fans are used to the fact that Salavat versus Ak Bars is always spectacular, and in the framework of the regular season it is also almost always effective. 4: 1, 4: 1, 7: 3, 3: 2 – accounts from the last regular season confirm this thesis.
But the starting “green” opposition of this season did not quite justify expectations. The victory of “Ak Bars” with a modest score of 2: 0 turned out to be too mundane. Yes, Artem Galimov created a mini-masterpiece, and Dmitry Voronkov and Yevgeny Lisovets staged a fight, but for a Tatar-Bashkir duel this amount of fire is not enough.
After a week and a half, the teams moved from Kazan to Ufa. Their match could not be called hot again, but there were enough events in it. The favorite of Kazan fans, Voronkov, scored the first goal in the regular season, Salavat bounced back from the score 0: 2 in 39 seconds, the opponents staged a massive brawl, and everything was decided in a shootout, where the team from the capital of Tatarstan was more fortunate.
And in this meeting, a super goal was scored. Its author was the forward of “Ak Bars” Nikolai Kovalenko – the son of a well-known hockey player and former State Duma deputy Andrei Kovalenko. The former, because he lost the recent elections to his constant opponent in Yaroslavl, Anatoly Lisitsyn.
Kovalenko Jr. ran to the Salavat goal together with Dmitry Kagarlitsky, defender Mikhail Naumenkov tried to prevent them. Kagarlitskiy decided to perform the episode himself, but Juha Metsola coped with his throw, the puck bounced off his shield towards the 21-year-old Kazan striker. More precisely – into his head. Kovalenko didn’t dodge the hockey shell or didn’t have time, he sent it to the net like a football. For hockey, the case is truly amazing.
Last summer, Ak Bars took Kovalenko away from Lokomotiv with the help of an offer. So far, Kazan does not regret this decision for sure – in 18 matches the striker scored 12 points, the same as in 41 games of the last regular season in Yaroslavl.