Rau’s late show

Source: Club Press-Office



Chad Rau scored twice in the last five minutes to give Kunlun a dramatic road win in Belarus and rescue a game that seemed all but lost.

The American forward put Red Star ahead in the game for the first time on 59:46, setting the seal on a battling victory with a great goal. Janne Jalasvaara shaped to shoot but opted to fire a diagonal pass low across the face of Ben Scrivens’ net; Rau raced to the far post and dispatched a perfect one-timer to spark jubilation on our bench and plunge the home crowd into further frustration.

Earlier, things were very different. Dinamo, beaten in its previous four games, shrugged off the weight of that bad run to open up a 2-0 lead on goals from Andrei Stas and Andrei Kitarov during a sluggish first period for Kunlun which could, and maybe should, have resulted in heavier scoring.

But the sleeping dragon awoke after the intermission. Dinamo ran into penalty trouble and Tobias Viklund got a goal back on the power play. Midway through the third period the scores were level; a five-on-three power play, Rau’s assist and Sean Collins tied the game.

For Rau, that was just the start of his evening’s work. Andrei Stepanov put Dinamo back in front on the power play but Rau conjured an equalizer within minutes. That too was a power play goal, and seemed to be sending Kunlun to its first ever overtime in the KHL.

However, there was an even bigger moment yet to come for Chad and his team-mates: two goals in a game for the second time in three days, back-to-back wins on the road and a more confident grasp on a playoff place.

There was still time for one last, nerve-jangling moment. Dinamo launched a desperate raid on Kunlun’s net and got the puck to the very crease. The on-ice officials awarded a goal, but head coach Vladimir Yurzinov requested a video check. The images proved that Artyom Zagidulin was illegally blocked by the opponent and Dinamo’s potentially game-tying goal was ruled out.

Not that many home fans were still there to see it. After Rau’s second, decisive effort, Arena Minsk emptied fast amid a chorus of jeers and whistles. The pressure clearly told on Craig Woodcroft as well – Dinamo’s head coach remained in the locker room long after the game as an inquest into his team’s fifth straight loss continued. That left Yurzinov to deliver the press conference on his own for fear of missing the flight to Helsinki. Our coach talked up a great victory for the team and its 21-year-old goalie and praised the resilience and combative performance of his players.

Now we look for more of the same against Jokerit on Saturday.