Blessed are the peacemakers …

9 September 2022

Time flies. It feels like we just met our rivals from Siberia and the Far East and already we’re jetting off to see them again on our first road trip of the season. The tour starts in Novosibirsk, where both teams are still chewing over an incident-packed game on Tuesday in Mytishchi. Then we continue to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, getting our longest journey of the season done in the opening weeks.


Sibir, Sep. 9. 1530 Moscow Time

Last time out: To talk about a 1-2 shoot-out loss barely tells the story of our game at home to Sibir on Tuesday. We also saw a fantastic solo rush from Zac Leslie to create our goal (a first KHL marker for Jack Rodewald), some great goaltending on Matt Jurusik’s debut and a controversial fight at the end of the second period.

Background: Garet Hunt has been called many things in his career, but ‘peacemaker’ might be a first. After the brawl at the end of the second period of Tuesday’s home game against Sibir, that was head coach Greg Ireland’s assessment of Garet’s role. Ireland was unhappy that both teams left the ice down the same path, and still more unhappy that a Sibir player took the opportunity to remonstrate with Parker Foo on the way to the locker room. The resultant scuffle saw Hunt and Sibir’s Evgeny Chesalin ejected from the game and later handed a one-game ban. In addition, Sibir’s Denis Golubev, who went unpunished at the time, was disqualified ahead of Friday’s rematch in Novosibirsk.

As a result, all three will miss the Dragons’ first road game of the season. Despite their absence, it promises to be a feisty affair. Red Star’s players were disappointed to miss out in the shoot-out after another encouraging performance. There’s also a sense of grievance about that fight adding spice to this revenge mission. This has all the ingredients of a lively encounter, so start your weekend a couple of hours early and make time to catch all the action on Friday evening.

Admiral, Sep. 11. 1000 Moscow Time

Last time out: We played Admiral in our opening game and enjoyed a 3-1 win. Kyle Wood had a spectacular KHL debut with a goal and two assists as the Dragons won a season opener for the first time since 2018.

Background: That opening win over the Sailors maintains our historic supremacy over one of our most frequent opponents. Out of 19 head-to-head meetings, the Dragons have won 10 in regulation against six successes for Admiral, outscoring the opposition 56-47. However, it’s some time since we’ve won in Vladivostok: our last road success in the series came in October 2018 when Brandon Yip scored late on to grab a 3-2 verdict. Yipper has a liking for games against Admiral, compiling 13 (6+7) points in seven appearances against this opponent. That’s the best individual record in the series, with Luke Lockhart (4+6) next on the list.

Amur, Sep. 13. 1200 Moscow Time

Last time out: Kunlun could not carry the winning formula into game two of the season, suffering a 0-2 loss against the Tigers.

Background: Traditionally, this game has been something of a local rivalry match-up. Not, in truth, because Khabarovsk is all that close to Beijing – the shortest road distance between them is over 2,000km. However, Russia’s Far Eastern city lies on the Amur River – known as the Heilongjiang in China. That marks the border between the two nations and is less than a kilometer wide in Khabarovsk. That proximity also helps to explain how the Heilongjiang province became a hotbed of Chinese hockey development, something that remains true to this day. Zhang Zesen, a recent addition to the Red Star roster this season, is one of many Harbin natives to have played for our teams.

Up to now, though, Amur has enjoyed the better of this rivalry, with 17 wins in 24 encounters. Our most recent success in Khabarovsk came in December 2019, when Olli Palola scored twice in a 3-2 victory. Once again, Brandon Yip is our most effective player against the Tigers, with 11 (4+7) points in seven games.

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