9 October 2022

Avangard Omsk 0 Kunlun Red Star 4

The Dragons’ first visit to Omsk in four seasons could hardly have gone any better. Red Star stunned a capacity crowd at the impressive new G-Drive Arena, handing the Hawks a first lost in their new building.

That’s just the start. Matt Jurusik made 33 saves to record our first shut-out of the season and his first in the KHL. Brandon Yip extended his hot streak, with our captain getting a goal for the fourth game in a row (the productive streak is now at five). Parker Foo had a goal and two assists, moving him to 13 (5+8) points for the season. All those helpers came in the last six games and in that time Red Star has picked up eight points. As a team, we’ve taken at least one point from each of our five games in October.

It isn’t just about the offense either. KRS has now gone four games without allowing a power play goal as the Kunlun PK steps up a gear. That was huge for us early in the game. The first period saw Avangard dominate for long periods. As you’d expect, the home team was full of confidence after a big win over Metallurg on Saturday and at times our net was under siege. However, 14 saves from Jurusik, including a massive stop to deny Alex Broadhurst early in the game, kept the door firmly closed. At the other end, our forwards were feeding on scraps but crucially we got to the first intermission very much in the game.

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Early in the second, the Dragons opened the scoring. Yipper was the scorer, putting himself in the right place at the right time. Our captain was right in front of Vasily Demchenko, screening the goalie’s view of Jason Fram’s point shot, and his deflection took the puck over the goalie and into the net. Fram, meanwhile, was playing his preferred defensive role for the first time this season having previously been asked to fill in as a forward. That was partly due to the absence of Ryan Sproul, whose space on the roster was filled by Yan Ruinan.

With a lead to defend, our PK produced some more quality work to keep Avangard at bay. The hard work of blocking shots and denying the opposition space in our zone continued apace, and the stats told the story. Although the Hawks had significantly more time in the offensive zone, that did not translate into a big lead in shots on goal. Just as important, our own forwards were getting far more pucks to the net at the other end, keeping Demchenko occupied after a quiet start.

At the start of the third, Red Star got on top. Parker Foo had a good early chance, then Cory Kane raised the temperature with a colossal hit on Avangard’s Belyakov, dumping the defenseman onto the Dragons’ bench. To further ruffle the Hawks’ feathers, Kunlun soon added a second goal. Devin Brosseau was the scorer, but this one owed everything to Foo’s efforts behind the net. Parker battled hard to hold off the attentions of defenseman Mikhail Gulyayev and recovered from a fall to get the puck back to the slot for Brosseau to snipe a one-timer.

With 15 minutes to play, a first ever victory in Omsk was within reach. And the closing stages saw Red Star stretch its lead. Foo made it 3-0, angling in a shot that found its target via the post and a deflection off Demchenko. The home goalie, enraged, smashed his stick against the cage and was duly replaced with understudy Andrei Mishurov. The youngster managed to go unbeaten by the visiting offense, but there was a fourth goal to come when Ethan Werek found the empty net.

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