Ottenbreit scores his first

2 October 2023

Kunlun Red Star 2 Dynamo Moscow 3

Playing back-to-back is always tough. Playing back-to-back against an opponent that had two days’ rest is even tougher. And when that opponent is looking to go top of the Conference, and has never lost in any of its previous games against us, it’s tougher still.

Today’s game was close enough to suggest that the Dynamo curse cannot be far from its end. But there is still no happy-ever-after despite another battling performance. In recent games, the Dragons have come from behind to beat Metallurg and take Avangard to overtime. However, Dynamo had sufficient savvy to close out a narrow victory here.

There were highlights. Devin Brosseau kept up his fine form with a seventh goal of the season. In his second KHL season, Devin has blossomed into a lethal sniper: today, late in the first period, his redirect steered a Ryan Sproul blast beyond Ilya Konovalov to tie the game at the first intermission.

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Then we saw a first KHL goal for Turner Ottenbreit. Our summer acquisition opened his account early in the third period with an effort from the blue line after Dynamo struggled to clear the puck from behind the goal line. That ushered in a final frame that saw us outshoot our high-flying opponent as the guys did everything to try to force the tying goal.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The seeds of this narrow loss were sown earlier in the evening. The fourth minute told the story of the game in a microcosm. At one end, only Andrei Mironov’s skate prevented Jack Rodewald from opening the scoring on the odd-man rush. At the other, Eric O’Dell swatted at the puck amid a crowd of players, and saw it whistle into the top corner. It’s true what they say: when you’re on form, things just fall your way.

Although Brosseau got us level, the second period again began with a short-handed goal against us. We had the same problem against Avangard yesterday, but this time we were unable to even things up by converting the on-going power play. Instead, Dynamo went on to dominate the middle frame and extended its lead late in the session thanks to Dmitry Rashevsky.

A two-goal deficit is nothing to fear. We’ve overcome this kind of adversity before, and Ottenbreit’s big moment had us poised to repeat that trick. However, there are reasons why Dynamo is doing well this season, and game management is a big one of them. Alexei Kudashov’s team produced an exhibition of how to protect a lead in the closing stages, ceding possession but working hard to keep our offense to the outside. In the end, that was the difference maker as the Dragons fell to a frustrating loss.

The unrelenting early season pace continues. After one day of rest, we’re back in action at Vityaz on Wednesday before hosting Torpedo on Thursday.

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