Igor Ignatuškin: I'm looking forward to the rematch already!
After a demanding week, the Steelers played against the current standings leader, HKM Zvolen. At first, our game was a rather hard one, quick and aggressive, but we didn't win against our greatest rival in the league. We were the ones who opened the score, when Gabi Spilar sent the puck to the back of the net, but after few minutes we got an answer in form of 3 goals. In the second period, we were trying really hard for a turnover after Evan Brophey's shot on goal, but finally, we were defeated 2:7 on our home-ice. Igor Ignatuškin in the jersey of Košice shared with us his immediate feelings in an interview.
Igor, what about the today's game?
"The first period was very demanding, as Zvolen played a very systematic game. We had to keep moving all the time and we had to be everywhere. I still haven't managed to adapt myself to the new line-up. Yesterday, I skated with one group, and today the line-up was a little bit different. But obviously, that's not an excuse. The game results change the standings, and we know what that means for us. There are several matches remaining till play-off, and that's why we have to keep fighting. We may begin to search for a way to win over Zvolen, as we will play against them. Zvolen has a strong cadre, it was impossible to calm down the game during the whole match. We played long minutes without a goal, and we paid a heavy price for it. One shorthanded goal in our own power-play, our 2-minute penalty kill followed by 2 Zvolen goals. This might have been the moment which broke us. Great thanks to the fans, who came to support us, there were many of them today, and that really makes us happy. I believe, that this match hasn’t put them off and they will come the next time again."
What is the greatest motivation for you?
"A defeat is more motivating than a victory, because we know that we have to work harder. That our performance is not sufficient to win over a strong opponent. It is a good trigger for me and in my opinion, also for the whole team, to launch a series of victories. It's possible with a team such this."
How did the Steelers welcome you?
"Very well, I guess. Few guys talk a little bit Russian or English. I don't speak Slovak so far, but I shouldn't have difficulties learning it, as our countries are culturally related. But the guys are really helpful, they accompanied me to the hotel, helped me find accommodation, gave me some tips for food, we talk often and a lot. I believe, I will become one of them soon."
What is your first impression about the Tipsport League games?
"I may not tell after a single match. It's obvious that our coach tries his best to make the passage from defense to offense as quick as possible and a good fore-check. But today, our rivals preferred short passes, and from my point of view, this was the key to their victory. To put it simply, we were not able to react to such a game style. The match, however, showed also our cadre's strong points, and so we believe to defeat them in the rematch."
Is there a big difference between the Slovak league and KHL?
"In KHL, the players skate more and quick passes are preferred. It's something totally different. But the hockey is the same, for example power-plays and penalty kills are the same - I can see just some very slight differences. There are many players in KHL, who prefer hard game, and therefore it seems to me that the greatest difference is in the way of attacking."
Have you ever played against Slovakia on the international level?
"I took part in the IIHF Junior World Championship. We played against Slovakia, but i can't remember against whom exactly. The Czechs and Slovaks have a good defense and counterattack. I learned this mainly in the KHL, as I was meeting these players there as well."
How long have you been in Košice already?
"I've been here just for 2 days. I landed on Saturday night from Moscow. I had a training that day and today we had a match already. Lately, I've been trying to find accommodation close to arena, so that I can walk there, as I don't have my car here and I don't want to bother anyone. I've been alone here so far, my whole family is in Moscow, as the transfer from the team was rather quick. We'll see what future brings. My children still go to school, so moving would probably be difficult."
Igor is really welcomed on our team and we believe that Košice will soon feel like a home for him. Despite the end of this demanding week wasn't really successful, our guys did their best. Now, the Steelers are facing a challenge of 3 out-of-town matches. The first one will take place against Detva, followed by game against Hungarian Miškovec and the series will be finished on Sunday in Nové Zámky. We'll enjoy the next home match the following Tuesday, on November 27th, and it will be a true eastern hockey smash. We will host Poprad for the 2nd time already in this season. Opening face-off will take place at 5:30 PM. Come and support our champions!
HC KE Media Team (žov)