Golubev and Kazan emerge from big freeze against Rot-Weiss

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

When Dinamo Kazan beat Rot-Weiss Koln in the newly introduced ranking matches in Rotterdam, it was their first ever win in the Euro Hockey League outside of ROUND1.

They had initially lost their KO16 tie against Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles 9-0 but bounced back to win 10-8 in an entertaining tie, scoring five field goals.

For Pavel Golubev, he said of the win: “It was very enjoyable and great for us to beat such a strong team. It was unexpected but we did what we can.

“We knew we didn’t have any more games so we could give all of our power to that game. But having two games is much better for us, to feel the tournament and the emotion of the EHL.”

The difficulty for Dinamo Kazan in the EHL KO16 – and Russian clubs in general – remains the nature of their season. ROUND1 usually comes at the back end of their club season with the playoffs this season taking place just a couple of weeks before.

Dinamo Elektrostal gave Uhlenhorst Mulheim a real scare in Barcelona with just a late Thilo Stralkowski goal salvaging the draw they needed to advance. Since then, though, Russian clubs have had precious little pitch time to get up to speed due to the long, cold winter.

“Before we came to Rotterdam, [Kazan] didn’t have any outdoor training sessions; all of it was indoors. The first outdoor session we had was on March 29 and then we played against Racing. It was very hard for us to reach the level against Racing from just training in a hall but we felt much better two days later.”

And Golubev is hopeful that a Russian team will soon make a breakthrough and reach the last eight of the competition. In combination with Dinamo Elektrostal's second place finish in the ROUND1 groups, this win will help assure them of two places in the EHL for next season.

“The EHL is a great trip for us, to get such good games, to play strong teams who we can learn a lot from. I am delighted to be a part of it.”