29 October 2023
Traktor Chelyabinsk 5 Kunlun Red Star 2
Two goals from Devin Brosseau moved our forward to 12 goals for the season. However, it wasn’t enough to escape defeat at in-form Traktor on Sunday afternoon.
The team was similar to the one that won at Neftekhimik on Friday, with Matt Jurusik continuing in goal while Cliff Pu and Jason Fram returned in place of Alex Riche and Kyle Wood. However, there was little encouragement to be found in a hugely disappointing first period.
Traktor seized control of the game from the start, and scored three unanswered goals in the opening frame. Two of them came in a catastrophic three minutes at the very start of the game, with Maxim Shabanov opening the scoring after 28 seconds and Nikita Tertyshny doubling the lead on 2:20. Viktors Ignatjevs called a time-out, reminding our guys of the pre-game plan, and that halted the onslaught until Vladimir Tkachyov added a power play goal in the 16th minute. Overall, though, this was an opening frame to forget, especially for former Traktor man Teemu Pulkkinen.
“We played badly in that first period,” the Finn admitted. “In the second, we managed to get a goal back, but the main reason for our loss was our penalties. You can’t win when you’re on the penalty kill and we need to do something about that.
“Traktor barely gave us a chance on the power play, and that made the difference.”
Despite Teemu’s stark assessment of our performance, there were some encouraging signs. Devin Brosseau scored twice, including one on a rare power play, to haul the Dragons back into contention early in the third period. His first of the game came late in the middle stanza, driving into the heart of the Traktor zone before lifting a backhand shot past Zach Fucale. Then, early in the second, one of those rare power plays put us right back into the game as Ryan Merkley cut a swathe through the home defense to set up Brosseau for his second of the night and twelfth of the season.
At the point, the game was very much alive. However, Traktor got the next, all-important goal as Tkachyov made it two on the night and 4-2 for his team. Then Charles Robinson added a fifth and the outcome was settled. For all the Dragons’ fighting spirit, there was no repeat of the success in Nizhnekamsk and Traktor posted a fourth win in five games.
The Dragons’ road trip concludes on Tuesday at Avtomobilist before we return home for a three-game home stand at the start of November. Torpedo and Severstal (back-to-back) provide the opposition for the next chapter of our season.