Hallowe’en horror in Yekaterinburg

30 October 2021

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 8 Kunlun Red Star 0

When we previewed this game, we anticipated plenty of goals. However, we were hoping that the Dragons would get at least some of them and, ideally, most. Instead, our trip to Yekaterinburg turned into a Hallowe’en horror show that ended in the heaviest loss in our club’s history. Like a horror movie bad guy that just keeps coming at you, Avtomobilist was relentless in this game, tormenting our guys from start to finish.

There were problems before we got anywhere near the arena. Parker Foo, an integral part of our top line this season, was unavailable. That forced head coach Ivano Zanatta into a reshuffle: the ever-versatile Zach Yuen moved up to the first line. Vic Bartley was also absent from this game, leaving us with just six defensemen on the team. Mikhail Abramov was back in the team on the fourth line after missing the home game against Neftekhimik, while Paris O’Brien returned as understudy to goalie Jeremy Smith. He lined up against his former Dragons’ colleague Dmitry Shikin, who was given the start today ahead of Vladimir Galkin.

And Shikin was almost beaten early in the game when Ryan Sproul hit the foot of the post. It was a great chance for our D-man, who got forward and redirected a Spencer Foo feed to the doorstep. Shikin was relieved to hear that one ding the piping and bounce to safety.

088 30 10 2021 Kolchin

In terms of the balance of play, though, that encouraging moment at the start was akin to the … disallowed goal against SKA just over a week earlier. On that occasion, our near miss sparked the home team into a deluge of goals and history repeated itself here. It turns out that hockey horror can churn out the sequels just like Hollywood.

The Motormen opened the scoring midway through the first period. Jesse Blacker, another former Dragon, fired in a point shot that was deflected up into the air for Brooks Macek to bat home. Late in the opening frame, Stephane da Costa doubled the lead after forcing a turnover in our zone.

The first-period stats did not suggest that Avto was good value for a 2-0 lead, but the middle frame began with two goals in 30 seconds to put the game beyond reach. Understandably disheartened, the Dragons struggled to create even a token offensive game after that – but unfortunately our hosts were in no mood to let us off lightly.

Patrice Cormier started the third period with a fifth goal for his team. Next came another two-goal blast as Macek got his second and Yakov Rylov followed up within a minute. Finally, Sergei Shumakov added an eighth to establish an unwanted record for our club.

The road trip continues into next week, with two further games at Neftekhimik (Nov. 1) and Sochi (Nov. 3). Then comes our final game before the pause for the Euro Hockey Tour when Sibir visits Mytishchi on Nov. 6.

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