Dragons edged out on the road

12 January 2024

Severstal Cherepovets 2 Kunlun Red Star 1

This was our fourth meeting with Severstal this season and, with all due respect, it’s fair to say the Dragons will happy not to face the Steelmen again. Despite a battling display, we fell to a fourth loss against this opponent.

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Following Tuesday’s win at Salavat Yulaev, Viktors Ignatjevs persevered with an unchanged team, apart from recalling Alexander Lazushin in goal. And once again, he was rewarded with a hard-working performance all over the ice. Although Severstal enjoyed extensive control of the play in the first period, our defense knuckled down to limit the home team’s scoring chances. And those shots that did get through found Lazushin in red hot form.

Lazar got into the game early, making a big sliding save to deny David Dumbadze in the first three minutes, and he stayed hot throughout the game. In front of him, the defense blocked 10 shots in the first stanza alone.

Unfortunately, while defense famously wins championships, offense tends to make the difference in individual games. Today our forwards found it tough. The Dragons enjoyed little time on the puck and, as a consequence, rarely managed to test our host. Consequently, when Severstal got ahead early in the second period, it felt like a pivotal – and highly damaging – moment. Alexander Skorenov got the goal, scoring on us for the second time this season. Someone else we’ll be happy enough not to see again this term.

A frustrating evening was not helped by Severstal’s second goal. The on-ice verdict was that Adam Liska’s effort had not crossed the line, but a video review decided that it had and, with 10 to play, we were down by two.

On 56:40 we called a time-out and began playing six-on-five hockey. That got one goal back, with Gemel Smith his second in as many games. Brandon Yip and Ryan Merkley exchanged passes on the left before Yipper’s feed set up Smith for a classy snipe from the bottom of the circle. With 75 seconds left on the clock, there was still time to snatch a tie, but Severstal’s defense was unwilling to let go and the game finished at 1-2.

Red Star now returns home to face Salavat Yulaev again on Sunday. A second win against the team from Ufa would make a great way to finish the week.

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