Dragons test undefeated Torpedo

14 September 2023

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 5 Kunlun Red Star 2

For 40 minutes, this was top-of-the-table stuff from the Dragons. Up against an unbeaten Torpedo team that has scored goals for fun this season, KRS went a long way to unseating Igor Larionov’s cavaliers.

At one end of the ice, Matt Jurusik was majestic. He stopped 24 shots through 40 minutes, frustrating the potent home offense and building a platform that gave our guys a chance not only to win, but to return to the Western Conference summit.

At the other end, Devin Brosseau continued in his imposing form. Our Canadian forward has been hot since he came back from his summer vacation, and he potted two more goals today. That takes him to 7 (5+2) points in seven games, a big upswing in productivity compared with 19 points in 60 games last term. Find out how Devin spent his summer and book a similar program for yourself next year – the results speak for themselves!

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His opening goal today came on our first power play of the evening. It was a fine example of center forward play, with Brosseau getting in Adam Huska’s face throughout the PP and applying the deftest of touches to steer Ryan Merkley’s shot past the Slovak goalie.

However, the first period was not all about good news. During the action, we lost Spencer Foo to an upper body injury – more injury of the punishing side-effects of our frantic early-season schedule.

At the start of the third, Jurusik pulled off a magnificent glove save to deny Torpedo’s exciting youngster Vasily Atanasov. But we were creating chances too. Alex Riche went close to converting a Luke Lockhart breakaway, then Merkley set up Jack Rodewald for a close-range effort that Huska did well to deny.

Gradually, Torpedo began to dictate more of the play. However, that did not slow our progress too much. After Nikolai Kovalenko’s effort went wide, our defense regrouped and sent Brosseau off to the races. Like the thoroughbred he is, Devin delivered a second goal, beating Huska short side to double the lead.

The key message at the second intermission was to keep things tight. Torpedo was showing signs of frustration, and time pressure would quickly come into play if it stayed 2-0 in the third. Unfortunately, we began the final frame on the PK, and Maxim Letunov took advantage to give his team a lifeline. Then, a rare lapse from Merkley gifted a short-handed goal to Andrei Belevich and the game was tied in the 45th minute.

At this point, inevitably, Torpedo stepped up its onslaught. Despite all the minutes played and miles travelled already this season, our guys resisted bravely. The game was still deadlocked moving into the last five minutes, Jurusik was standing on his head and a brave rearguard effort looked capable of at least getting to overtime.

But on 54:59, Atanasov broke the deadlock to put Torpedo up for the first time. Soon after that, Letunov and Merkley returned after butting heads. Letunov went on to score twice more, completing his hat-trick to give Torpedo a more convincing final than perhaps it deserved.

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