17 November 2022
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Kunlun Red Star 3 SO
Red Star goalie Alexei Murygin is enjoying the chance to reacquaint himself with former colleagues this season. He made his Dragons debut in a victory over Neftekhimik, the club where he started the season. Today we travelled to Lokomotiv, the team where Alexei enjoyed his greatest success as a player, and once again he produced a game-winning display.
This was also a big game for the rest of the team. After a painful 0-5 loss against Torpedo last time out, there was a need to prove a few points. Lokomotiv, on a three-game skid, was no less eager to recover some form. At times, Kunlun had to defend deep and hang on in this game. However, some great work from our power play and a composed performance in the shoot-out earned our first ever victory in Yaroslavl.
There were changes after Monday’s loss. Captain Brandon Yip was rested, with Zac Leslie taking the ‘C’ for this one. That brought a new-look top line with Devin Brosseau and Alex Riche joining Jack Rodewald. Brett Pollock dropped to the second, alongside Luke Lockhart and Parker Foo. Garet Hunt returned on our third line with Cory Kane and Tyler Wong in support, while Josh Nicholls and Guo Jianing also came back to the team. The defensive pairs were unchanged.
Those defensive pairs got through plenty of work in the opening stages. Lokomotiv started like an express train, dominating territory and goal attempts in the early exchanges. However, it says much about the Dragons defense that, of 15 attempts in the first, only three required Murygin’s intervention. At the other end chances were not exactly flowing freely either. However, the first power play of the game saw Alex Riche give us the lead. Shortly afterwards, he was denied a second by Daniil Isayev in the home net, then Rodewald went close on the wraparound in the closing moments of the first period.
Power play goals turned out to be a feature of this game. Maxim Shalunov’s penalty gave Red Star the chance to open the scoring. However, he duly replied with a goal of his own after Kane’s infringement. That invited the home offense to raise its game, and now Murygin was the busier of the two goalies. Even so, Red Star caused problems on the counter. Wong went close to converting Nicholls’s saucer feed, but Isayev pulled out the save. However, Tyler found the net late in the frame, converting yet another power play. Isayev gave a big rebound after Leslie’s shot and Wonger drilled the puck into the open side of the net.
Early in the third, Lockhart almost snaffled a shorty. However, Isayev had the answer and the game remained at 2-1. Then another Lokomotiv power play midway through the frame saw Rushan Rafikov tie the scores. After that there were no further penalties and, unsurprisingly perhaps, no further goals. Riche almost grabbed his second of the game in regulation, and in overtime Ryan Sproul almost nicked it in the final moments. However, this one was destined to go to a shoot-out.
In that shoot-out, Murygin denied Shalunov at the start. Then, after Rodewald and Nicholls put us in front, our goalie won his duels against Artur Kayumov and Alexander Polunin. That secured a narrow verdict and recorded a first ever win at Arena 2000.