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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CSKA Downs Alter Ego, Crowd Backs Tikhonov

CSKA hockey club drew first blood in the battle of the CSKAs with a 3-2 victory in the Russian hockey league as the warring army teams finally faced each other on ice.


CSKA, coached by Alexander Volchkov, fought back from 2-0 deficit for the win, but HC CSKA can claim the moral victory.


Throughout the entire game Monday the 2,500 fans packed into the CSKA Ice Palace chanted "Tikhonov, Tikhonov," along with the usual cries of "CSKA, CSKA," showing their sympathy for HC CSKA coach and army hockey legend Viktor Tikhonov.


"Of course, the average hockey fan has the stereotype that Tikhonov is CSKA, but actually we are the real CSKA team," said Volchkov afterward, shrugging off the idea that the majority of fans still support Tikhonov's team.


CSKA split two years ago when CSKA bosses ousted Tikhonov after 20 years of army service.


The determined coach took on the entire Defense Ministry brass to form his own team, HC CSKA and a bitter off-the-ice dispute has been going on ever since.


Monday's match was the first time the teams have met since the split because Volchkov's CSKA only gained promotion to the top league this season.


Tempers often flared in the highly emotional game, attended by Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, whose son trains with the Tikhonov squad. The final whistle saw the CSKA bench run onto the ice and embrace the rest of the team as if they had just won the Stanley Cup.


"It was a matter of principal for us to beat them and show which is the better team," said CSKA captain Igor Vyazmikin, who played for Tikhonov during the 1980s.


The emotions spilled into a post-match press conference, where both claimed to be the true CSKA.


"We will have a final court day to deal with the CSKA insignia on Nov. 17 and hopefully we'll settle all our differences then," said HC CSKA general manager Valery Gushin.