Tyler on target

12 November 2023

Avangard Omsk 6 Kunlun Red Star 4

We’ve been waiting a while, but Tyler Wong got his first goals of the season today. One of our longest-serving players, Tyler has been ever-present in his fifth campaign on the Dragons’ team. However, despite 14 assists that made him the second most productive of our forwards ahead of Sunday’s game, he was still waiting to add to his 44 career goals for Red Star.

Not anymore. And, for good measure, after potting his first of the campaign, the 27-year-old quickly added another. It won’t be long before we can talk about his race with Luke Lockhart to become the second Dragon to pot 50 KHL markers (Luke is currently on 44, Tyler moves to 46 today).

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His first goal tonight came on a delayed penalty. Ryan Sproul saw a point shot saved, and Wong brought the puck back to the blue line to have another go. Spencer Foo put up the screen in front of Andrei Mishurov and a deflection off a home defenseman was enough to find the net. That seventh-minute tally cancelled out Ryan Spooner’s early opener for the Hawks.

That effort inspired Cliff Pu, who joined Wong in scoring his first goal of the season a few minutes later. Ryan Merkley, who currently leads KRS in points this term, was given all the time he wanted to bring the puck into the Avangard zone and pick out an unexpected pass to Pu, who was lurking with intent between the hashmarks. The puck came at him fast, but Cliff showed great reactions to steer the Dragons into the lead.

Avangard tied the game before the intermission, but the Dragons were not downhearted. Early in the second period, Wong restored the lead with a power play goal. This time, he moved in from the right-hand boards and ripped off a wrister from the dot. Mishurin was unsighted by Devin Brosseau on the slot and the puck flew into the top corner to make it 3-2.

Once again, though, the home team responded before the interval and Reid Boucher tied the game at 3-3 going into the final third. Then came the game-breaking moment. In the 48th minute, Avangard scored twice to build a decisive lead. Spooner got his second of the night, then Igor Geraskin quickly made it 5-3.

That wasn’t the end. Red Star continued to seek a way back into the game and managed to ruffle the Hawks’ feathers when Doyle Somerby got it back to 4-5. Alex Riche led the charge into enemy territory, a last-ditch poke check merely delivered the puck to Nolan Moyle and, in a frantic scene in front of the home net, Somerby finished it off.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to save the game. Play resumed in center ice with 13 seconds left on the clock. Kunlun only had one chance to make a play, and when Avangard won possession it resulted, inevitably, in an empty-net goal on 59:58.

After Sunday’s trip to Siberia, our guys get a brief pause for breath. The next game is in Yaroslavl on Thursday, followed by a couple of home games.

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