2 February 2024
Kunlun Red Star 3 Admiral Vladivostok 5
Tyler Graovac clearly had a few things on his mind for this game. Our Canadian forward began his season at Admiral, but did not have the happiest of times in the Far East. Struggling to establish himself on Leonids Tambijevs’ team, Tyler was claimed off waivers by the Dragons. Today, he had a chance to show his former colleagues what he could do.
He took that chance in some style. After garnering four points in 20 games for his former club, he grabbed three points in 40 minutes against his previous employer. Unfortunately, hockey is a team game and, today, our guys could not quite match Graovac’s contribution. A powerplay goal and an empty-netter in the third period cost us the verdict and snapped a three-game hot streak.
Apart from our familiar goalie rotation – Lazushin in for Jurusik today – there was only one change from the team that beat Vityaz. Devin Brosseau returned after serving a one-game ban and took Ivan Lisin’s place. He had a couple of good chances in the first period as he pursues a club goalscoring record. Currently Devin is on 20 for the season; Brandon Yip’s 21 remains the target to beat.
At the other end, Admiral got an early lead through Daniil Gutik’s goal, but the Dragons came roaring back with a goal on the first power play of the night. Spencer Foo’s effort from the slot was blocked, but the puck bounced straight to Graovac to make it 1-1.
Early in the second period, we got another remainder of Jake Chelios’s attacking skills. This time, Graovac played a supporting role, taking play down the right before dishing off the puck for Brandon Yip. Our captain swung it wide for Chelios, who bore down on the net and had Sergei Ivanov guessing where the puck might go before slipping it low behind the visiting goalie.
If Red Star could have held that lead for any length of time, this game might have ended very differently. However, Alexander Gorshkov tied the scores a minute later, then Gutik potted his second of the night on the power play to put Admiral back in front.
Late in the middle frame, another Red Star power play saw plenty of pressure on Ivanov’s net. Brosseau had two more big chances, then Graovac collected his second of the night when he finished off a neat interchange between Yipper and Spencer.
The game was level at the second intermission, but Admiral would begin the final stanza on the power play. And that proved damaging: Dmitry Buchelnikov capitalized at the start of the third and, once again, the Dragons had it all to do. The game remained alive until the very end, and Tyler Wong was close to tying the game in the closing stages with a shot from the hash marks. However, an empty-net goal from Buchelnikov took the game out of reach and a late Red Star effort was ruled out by a video review as our guys fell to defeat on home ice.