On cloud nine

26 August 2021

Spartak Moscow 3 Kunlun Red Star 9

Our first ever appearance at the Mayor of Moscow Cup was a spectacular one as the Dragons roared to the biggest victory in our history. A nine-goal haul against Spartak is, of course, a special achievement and after the difficulties faced in Nizhnekamsk last week it’s a huge morale boost for the team.

It’s also vindication of our selection policy: this victory was built by our Chinese heritage players, while there was still a role for a number of home-grown players on the team. Slowly but surely, the work that has gone into this club since 2016 is beginning to bear fruit – just as we planned in this Olympic season.

On Thursday, the Dragons simply blitzed Spartak from the first seconds. Within four minutes we were ahead on a power play goal from Parker Foo, who continues to hit new heights in this pre-season. Parker was assisted by Luke Lockhart and Josh Nicholls, names you’ll encounter frequently in the next few paragraphs.

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Indeed the opening frame really belonged to Josh: he scored our second goal and assisted on the third, which went to Alex Riche, another player who is really proving his worth this summer after a difficult start to life with our club. However, despite a 3-0 lead at the intermission, not everything was rosy. Parker Foo didn’t get long to enjoy his goal; he was hit in the head by the puck and had to leave the game and go to hospital for a detailed check.

His absence didn’t really steam the flow of goals, though. Greg Squires added a fourth at the start of the middle frame before, finally, Spartak pulled one back. For 10 minutes, the Red-and-Whites threatened to make a game of it – or at least stopped us from adding more to the tally. Late in the frame, though, Cory Kane struck on the power play (Nicholls with another assist) and that reopened the floodgates as Squires and Lockhart wrapped up the session in style.

Eventually, the scoring slowed down a bit. Luke started the third period with his second goal of the night (and yes, Nicholls picked up yet another helper). Ethan Werek got our ninth of the day, ensuring that this was our highest-scoring performance. True, Spartak managed a couple of efforts at the other end, but that takes nothing away from a commanding performance and a memorable win. Best of all, we get to do it all again tomorrow against Vityaz. Maybe we should have come to the Mayor of Moscow Cup years ago!

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