16 October 2021
Kunlun Red Star 1 Barys Nur-Sultan 2 SO
For the third game running, the Dragons added to their points tally after going the full distance against Barys. An entertaining game in Mytishchi could have produced more than the two goals we saw in regulation, while our guys came close to grabbing the W in overtime.
The team news saw Denis Osipov make his second debut for the team. The experienced Russian defenseman joined Vic Bartley on the second line after he signed up last week. Previously, Osipov played with us for parts of 2019/20 and 2020/21.
Osipov found himself in a game where both defenses were under rather more pressure than the scoreboard suggested. The first period, despite being scoreless, produced dangerous moments at both ends, starting when Cory Kane got away from visiting goalie Joni Ortio behind the net only to see his pass intercepted.
The opening goal did not arrive until the start of the second period, when Nikita Mikhailis surprised Jeremy Smith with an early shot from the top of the right-hand circle. Red Star was close to an instant response when Jason Fram bundled home a rebound from the back boards. However, after a video review, the play was whistled off; the officials felt that Fram used his hand to steer the puck past Ortio.
It was beginning to look as if that was as close as Red Star would get. Chances kept coming, but the puck stubbornly refused to bounce our way. Until, with less than two minutes to play, Tyler Wong stepped up. The crease was crowded, but when Wong collected Ryan Sproul’s pass he spotted the route to goal, evaded Roman Starchenko and got past Ortio’s desperate lunge before sliding the puck beyond Olle Alsing’s stick to take the game into overtime.
Those extras could have gone either way. Fram and Parker Foo had big chances early in the additional stanza, Kane’s backhand effort was stopped by Ortio and Spencer Foo went out on the breakaway to threaten the Finnish goalie once again … only to be penalized after collision with his opponent. A minute on the penalty kill was eased when Barys took a penalty of its own for delaying the game and there was one last chance went Luke Lockhart went one-on-one only to be denied with 12 seconds left on the clock.
That sent us to a shoot-out. Jeremy Smith, who impressed with 44 saves during the game, stopped the first attempt he faced but was unable to deny Curtis Valk or Nikita Mikhailis. Ethan Werek converted our fourth attempt to keep the game alive, but after Starchenko hit the post, Cliff Pu was denied by Ortio and the extra point went to Barys.
However, after an overtime loss in Minsk last time out and victory at home to CSKA in the previous game, the Dragons have now picked up points in their last three outings. That’s the best run of the season so far for our team, and we’ll be looking to continue on Sunday when our next road trip starts at Lokomotiv.
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