27 August 2021
Vityaz Moscow Region 4 Kunlun Red Star 2
Our second game at the Mayor of Moscow Cup could hardly match the first for thrills and spills – but despite a defeat against Vityaz, we did enough to secure first place in our group and move on to Saturday’s gold medal game vs. Dynamo.
Given the nature of the three-team group, and the fact that a Vityaz win would leave all three teams with one win and one loss, Thursday’s rampant victory over Spartak put us firmly in pole position. A defeat by up to three goals would still keep the Dragons ahead of the pack. In the event, though, the game was far more competitive.
There were four changes to yesterday’s team. Parker Foo’s absence was enforced by the injury he suffered and it was also time to rotate some of our home-grown players. Guo Jianing, Rudi Ying and Zhang Zesen sat it out while Zhong Wei, Sammy Hu and Chang Zheng stepped in. Chris Seto replaced Parker.
In the opening two periods there was little to choose between the teams. In the first, Alexander Yaremchuk opened the scoring, but Luke Lockhart scored a beauty on the power play to make it three goals in two games for him in this tournament. In the middle frame, Tyler Wong put us ahead before the pacy Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov made it 2-2.
Only in the third did Vityaz manage to get ahead, with a great pass from Yaremchuk releasing Damir Musin to make it 3-2. Late in the game, despite being a man down, head coach Ivano Zanatta decided to withdraw goalie Alexander Lazushin and go all out for a tying goal. It was a bold gesture, and one that speaks to the Dragons’ refusal to accept defeat, but on this occasion, sadly, fortune did not favor the brave. An empty-net goal put this game beyond reach but made no difference to the overall tournament situation – Red Star is off to the final and has hardware in its sights tomorrow.
That gold-medal game starts Saturday at 1800 Moscow time. You can follow the action on KHL TV or via the Kunlun Red Star Twitter feed.