From daylight robbery to the spirit of Yashin

5 March 2024

Top 5 Dragons’ saves of 2023/24

Yes, it’s true. Being a goalie for Red Star is not a job for the workshy. Between them, our Stakhanovite heroes of labor Matt Jurusik, Jeremy Smith and Alexander Lazushin stopped 2,400 shots last season. Along the way, they produced some special moments to frustrate opposing forwards and inspire some memorable results.

Number 5 – Alexander Lazushin vs SKA St. Petersburg

Lazushin didn’t have the easiest of seasons this time around, with injury limiting his game time. But when called upon, he showed off his quality in some style. Our spectacular end-of-season win over SKA saw Lazar pull off 48 saves in a performance that had even the home crowd singing his name. One of the best of them came early, pulling off a stick save to rob Sergei Tolchinsky with the game still goalless. Had SKA claimed that early lead, who knows how this game might have turned out?

Number 4 – Matt Jurusik vs Dinamo Minsk

Some might argue this is more of a goalie error than a great save. Others would say that errors are inevitable, and it’s how you deal with them that counts. We’re very much in the second camp. Yes, the work behind the net could have been better, but you can’t fault the awareness and the zero quit mentality as Juice rushes back into position to stop Ilya Shinkevich’s shot when the home player thought that all he had to do was show up and claim his goal.

Number three – Jeremy Smith vs Amur Khabarovsk

The Tigers sliced through our defense, and Artur Gizdatullin and Kirill Kapustin bore down on Smitty’s net unopposed. Swinging the puck between them hypnotically, they seemed destined to score – but Jeremy was unfazed by the fancy stuff and held his ground to to deny Gizdatullin. 

Number 2 – Matt Jurusik vs Dynamo Moscow

This was a soccer style save to deny Eric O’Dell from point blank range. Playing at in a complex named after the legendary Lev Yashin, Matt channelled the Black Spider himself to fling out an arm and tip a looping puck over the net. We know Yashin played a bit of hockey back in the day, maybe Jurusik has some football experience in his past?

Number 1 – Matt Jurusik vs Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk

Nail Yakupov has always been a mercurial talent, capable of hurting any team when he’s in the mood. Here he blazed through our defense, but found Jurusik was ready for him. First, our goalie got his angles perfect, taking away the corner of the net and forcing Yakupov to fire against the post. The rebound went straight back to the forward, with the goal apparently now at his mercy. Juice saw it differently, springing back into the action to steal a certain goal. This was a good game all round for our guy, who had another big save to deny Zhukenov in a one-on-one in another incident.

And a bonus nomination, since our goalies led the KHL in saves this season with 2,400 stops between them.

Matt Jurusik vs Vityaz, Jan. 31, 2024

Our shut-out win over Vityaz was one of Matt’s best performances of the season – and his 56th minute double save was the stand-out moment. First, he got behind a fierce point shot from Jeremy Roy – there may have been a subtle redirect from Ivan Savchik on the way. Then, our goalie showed stunning reactions, acrobatically denying Savchik’s looping follow-up effort. Best of all, the stop triggered a counterattack the ended with Spencer Foo lashing home our second goal of the game to clinch a 2-0 victory.

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