30 January 2023
Dinamo Minsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 2
A first KHL goal from Ivan Lisin was the highlight of a game that saw success for the Dragons’ younger players. Lisin, 23, opened his account in this league with a tying goal in the second period and, earlier in the evening, we saw teenager German Tochilkin on target again to give Red Star an early lead.
Lisin, a Yaroslavl native whose career has mostly been played in the VHL, was recalled to our team at the weekend and kept his place after his contribution to a win over Spartak. Tochilkin, loaned to us by Spartak, did not play against his ‘home’ club on Saturday but returned to action here.
There was plenty riding on this game. With fixtures running out for Greg Ireland’s team, this was a great chance to keep some kind of pressure on an immediate rival for a playoff place. At this stage, it’s unlikely that the Dragons can make the top eight, but there is still hope – especially when we have several games to come against teams in a similar position to ourselves.
Meanwhile, Dinamo itself knew that victory would lift it up to seventh, a point ahead of Spartak and Severstal. To get that ‘W’, though, the Bison would have to secure a home victory in this series after the previous three meetings between the teams went to the visitor. The most recent of those was just four days ago and ended in a disappointing 1-5 reverse for Red Star.
That game was the first of a two-game ban for Brandon Yip, who made a welcome return to our team today. However, there was no place for Garet Hunt despite his pugnacious contribution against the Belarusians last week.
The early stages saw Dinamo take the initiative. However, Matt Jurusik kept the home team out and Tochilkin opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Colin Campbell got the puck out from behind the net, and Tochilkin struck from a tight angle to beat Konstantin Shostak in the Minsk net. That’s a fourth goal of the season for the 19-year-old.
It did not take long for Dinamo to tie things up, though, with Nick Merkley making it 1-1 before the first intermission. And after a flurry of penalties had us briefly playing three-on-three early in the second, the Bison took the lead on a power play goal from Roman Gorbunov.
The Dragons weren’t done yet, however. Midway through the game, our guys tied the scores thanks to Lisin’s first KHL goal. The forward played most of the 2019/20 campaign with Admiral, but found his ice time limited and did not hit the net in 49 games on a struggling team. Recalled to the KRS line-up last week, the 23-year-old finally opened his account at this level when he muscled his way onto the slot and tipped a Ryan Sproul shot beyond Shostak.
At 2-2, this was anyone’s game. However, it was the home team that managed to snatch the win thanks to a goal from Brandon Kozun midway through the third period. Red Star tried to salvage something, and played the last two minutes without Jurusik in goal, but the late surge came to nothing.