2 November 2023
Kunlun Red Star 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 OT
The Dragons’ third meeting of the season with Torpedo brought us our first point from this opponent. However, it feels like a point lost rather than a point gained: up 2-0 in the first period, Red Star led until the final minutes before falling in overtime.
It’s not the first time we’ve lost a two-goal lead at home to Igor Larionov’s team. Earlier in the season we were up by two after 40 minutes, only for Torpedo to explode with five unanswered goals in the final frame. This time, at least, we took the battle to overtime and collected a reward in the league standings.
The line-up brought a reunion for the Foo brothers. Spencer and Parker were back together on one line, with captain Brandon Yip joining them. Elsewhere, Zach Yuen stepped in to replace Cliff Pu and Matt Jurusik continued in goal with Jeremy Smith returning to the team as back-up.
Early in the game, Torpedo put the puck in Jurusik’s net. However, our video coach Mikhail Bykov has an eagle eye on the bench, and he got another big call right. Misha challenged the play and, sure enough, the review found our visitor was offside. No goal, and an early scare survived.
The next review was not so favorable, upholding an on-ice call that we found the Torpedo net after it moved off its moorings. But that was soon forgotten as Red Star went in front midway through the session. Tyler Wong producing some scintillating skills to unlock the Torpedo defense. Devin Brosseau was the first beneficiary, testing Ivan Kulbakov in the visitor’s net. The puck went back to Wong, who got it to Luke Lockhart and Kulbakov had no answer to a second dangerous effort.
Our lead was well-merited at this stage, and there was more to come. Nolan Moyle forced a turnover in center ice and Colin Campbell advanced down the right-hand channel to fire a shot over Kulbakov’s shoulder.
In recent games, we’ve tended to find ourselves behind by a couple of goals. Now the challenge was different – protect a notoriously difficult lead.
Giving up the first penalty of the game at the start of the second period was not the ideal start. Our PK did a great job once again, but Torpedo’s momentum helped it reduce the deficit in the 26th minute through Dennis Yan. Red Star still created chances, with Wong having perhaps the best of them but the visitor was creating more as the game went on.
Creating, yes. Scoring, no. Things were starting to look a bit desperate for Torpedo in the third period. However, the offense finally got things right after 57 minutes with Bobby Lynch leading a play down the channel and picking out a beautiful pass for Kirill Voronin to score at the back door. Neat as the play was, it was a hard one for our guys to take. Victory was so close, only to be snatched away.
In the circumstances, perhaps it was little surprise that the momentum remained with Torpedo going into the extras. We never really got a look at the puck, and Maxim Letunov grabbed the winner with the first shot of overtime.