Spencer keeps up goal run

13 August 2023

Kunlun Red Star 2 Khimik Voskresensk 5

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The Dragons received the Lada Cup trophy at the end of this week’s tournament. However, the final game of the competition was a disappointment as Khimik pulled off a 5-2 win.

In the wins over Lada and Neftekhimik, Kunlun gained the initiative thanks to bursts of quick scoring. Today, though, the boot was on the other foot. Midway through the first period, Khimik grabbed two goals in 21 seconds as Nikita Susuyev and Arseny Paramonov gave the VHL outfit a commanding advantage.

At the other end, our offense ran into trouble. Specifically, it ran into goalie Dmitry Kulikov. The 22-year-old was a mainstay of Khimik’s VHL title-winning team last season (as well as playing a handful of KHL games for Spartak). Today he was in fine form to frustrate our forwards, earning plenty of plaudits as he backstopped his team to victory and went on to collect the goalie of the tournament award.

It wasn’t until the second period that the Dragons found some answers. Spencer Foo kept up his record of a goal in each game here to reduce the deficit early in the middle session. Then Brandon Yip restored to the team after resting yesterday, buried a penalty shot in fine style. However, between those Red Star goals, Khimik scored again to remain in front.

Frustration took a toll as the game went on, and Kunlun’s efforts to salvage something were undermined by frequent trips to the penalty box. Ironically, though, the game’s biggest flashpoint was sparked by Khimik’s Mikhail Gordeyev. He reacted angrily to a slash from Tyler Wong and went out in search of retribution. Unwisely, he tried to tangle with Jake Chelios, a man who takes no nonsense. The Khimik defenseman found himself held at arm’s length before the officials intervened. Then Gordeyev was removed from the game as the instigator of the fight. With less than five to play, Jake was not coming back from his major penalty either, while Wonger had to sit out a minor for the original slash.

By that time, though, the game was gone. Khimik added a couple more goals in the third period to secure a convincing win. It was a disappointing way to end a promising tournament, but there are plenty of positives to take home from Togliatti along with the trophy. The newly-formed line of Devin Brosseau, Colin Campbell, and summer signing Nolan Moyle looked effective in the games against Lada and Neftekhimik. For the Khimik game, it was pushed down to a nominal fourth line and had less chance to make an impact.

Among the individual performances, Spencer Foo slotted seamlessly back into the team and finished with 4 (3+1) points to lead the team in scoring. Cliff Pu also had a good weekend, with 3 (2+1) points while another summer acquisition, Austin Wong, gained some valuable experience in the pro game.

Now the guys had back to Mytishchi for the next stage of pre-season. We have three warm-up games on the way in the next seven days. First, the Dragons take on another VHL team, AKM Tula, on Aug 17. Then it’s another busy weekend, with games against Amur on Saturday and Vityaz on Sunday.

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