Late blow denies Dragons

23 October 2022

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 Kunlun Red Star 2

The Dragons were seconds away from securing at least a point in Nizhny Novgorod, only to be denied for a late, late power play goal for the home team.

Another battling performance did not get the reward it deserved. Despite falling behind twice, Red Star hit back to tie the game and hung around until the closing moments. A Torpedo team noted for its gung-ho offense found our back line tough to crack, with Jeremy Smith producing another big performance with 43 saves. Among them, an incredible stick-and-pad stop shortly after the home team’s second goal is surely on its way to a highlight reel near you very, very soon.

The only change to the team that lost at SKA was Alex Riche coming in to replace Ethan Werek. Otherwise, Greg Ireland was happy to continue with the guys who produced a big performance in Petersburg without quite managing to upset the runaway league leader.

That faith was rewarded with a strong first-period performance. Cliff Pu’s line had two chances on one shift early in the game, and Torpedo ended up taking a delay of game penalty as it frantically attempted to clear its lines. More chances followed, with Jack Rodewald looking lively and Zac Leslie proving a constant threat when he could move away from his defensive duties.

Nobody could have complained if KRS took a lead into the first intermission. Instead, though, Torpedo snatched the advantage seconds before the buzzer when Dennis Yan opened the scoring.

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That was a hammer blow, but the Dragons rallied in the intermission and continued to press. Devin Brosseau had a good chance early in the middle frame, then Dmitry Kostenko tied it up. The young defenseman showed off his attacking instincts when he joined Rodewald and Brett Pollock on the rush and fired home a wrister from between the hashmarks. Unfortunately for our on-loan teenager, he later found himself in trouble with the officials and his hooking penalty led to Torpedo regaining the initiative thanks to Maxim Letunov’s power play goal.

Soon after that, Smitty made his best save of the game. Kenny Agostino knocked down Anton Sizov’s point shot and our goalie reacted smartly to pad it away. Then he showed fantastic reflexes – not to mention a measure of improvisation – to get his stick to Bogdan Konyushkov’s attempt to stuff home the rebound. At the other end, Rodewald came close again, hitting the crossbar late in the session.

Jack finally got the goal his efforts deserved midway through the third period, tying the game at 2-2. Brandon Yip’s rich vein of scoring form continued with an assist as he fired in from the point, and Rodewald got the touch to steer the puck past Ivan Kulbakov in the home net. Tied with eight minutes to play, Red Star had every reason to hope for at least a point to reward its efforts.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. A penalty on Parker Foo in the last minute handed Torpedo a chance to win it in regulation, and the home team took advantage. Sergei Goncharuk got the decisive goal, leaving Red Star empty-handed with 24 seconds left on the clock.

The current road trip concludes in Balashikha on Wednesday when we visit Vityaz.

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