Fram scores again but Dragons come up just short

7 October 2023

Kunlun Red Star 3 Spartak Moscow 4

Our opening game of the season brought a 4-3 road win over Spartak. Today, once again, we played the Red-and-Whites and the final scoreline was similar. Unfortunately, this time the Dragons were on home ice and the road win went to Alexei Zhamnov’s team, avenging that early defeat after a roller-coaster ride in Mytishchi.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, Viktors Ignatjevs reshuffled our lines. Cliff Pu moved up to the top line in place of Jack Rodewald. Jack joined Alex Riche and Jason Fram on the third line, while Anton Shenfeld came into the line-up in place of Zach Yuen and partnered Colin Campbell and Austin Moyle on the fourth. Devin Brosseau’s productive combination with Luke Lockhart and Tyler Wong remained intact on the second line. On defense, Doyle Somerby made way for Kyle Wood. Jeremy Smith got the start in goal.

Before the game there was also an encouraging sight as we saw Teemu Pulkkinen in KRS kit for the first time. The Finn skated with the team in the build-up to our meeting with Spartak, but is still a few days away from game readiness.

One player who has plenty of game readiness is Devin Brosseau. Our leading scorer was looking to extend his goal streak and came close to opening the scoring in the first couple of minutes. His second line also conjured a promising chance after Red Star killed the first penalty of the game, but Lockhart could not get the necessary touch on a Ryan Merkley point shot.

A second Spartak power play saw the visitor open the scoring, but the Dragons hit back late in the frame to go into the intermission level. This, too, came on the power play – Red Star’s first of the day – and captain Brandon Yip banged the puck into an open net off Pu’s feed. Captain China won’t have many simpler finishes than that thanks to some great work from Pu and Merkley in the build-up.


Level at the intermission, Red Star went ahead early in the second. Jason Fram clearly enjoys playing against Spartak: after scoring on the Red-and-Whites at the start of the season, he got his second of the campaign today against the same opposition. This time, Rodewald’s battling behind the net brought the puck to the slot where Jason was ready to lift it into the far corner. Shortly after, a two-on-one rush saw Lockhart set up Tyler Wong, but his shot was straight at Andrei Kareyev in the visitor’s net.

Unfortunately, penalty trouble struck again and Spartak tied things up on another power play goal. Worse followed in the 35th minute when Yegor Zaitsev dangled his way into the danger zone before beating Smitty to make it 2-3. But our impressive power play hauled the guys level once again. This was playbook stuff: Lockhart won the face off, Ryan Sproul squared the puck and Kyle Wood’s one-timer ripped past Kareyev.

There was everything to play for in the third, and both teams created chances. Our PK came up big to deny Spartak even a look at goal early in the session, but Maxim Tsyplakov restored the visitor’s lead when back to equal strength.

There was still time for a recovery, and our guys did all they could to save the game. Merkley produced some neat skills to jink past Michal Cajkovsky but his shot bounced off the crossbar and our man got an interference penalty as his tried to stuff home the rebound. Despite that penalty, Red Star continued to threaten and the Spartak PP struggled to clear its own zone. Lockhart had one more chance but could not convert as the clock ran down on yet another frustratingly close loss.

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