First class first line

Source: Club Press-Office



Lada is fast becoming Kunlun’s favorite opponent: the teams first met in pre-season, with Red Star winning 4-0. Then, in KHL action, Kunlun stalled the Motormen in Shanghai with a 4-2 scoreline. And in this latest encounter, the Chinese team prevailed once again thanks to a trio of goals from its first line.

Our team showed its character once again, coming from behind to take the points. It’s not the first time this season that Vladimir Yurzinov’s players have had to cope with giving up the first goal, and it’s not the first time they’ve succeeded in turning the game around. Barely six weeks into our first season, and it’s clear there’s already a serious competitive spirit flowing through the veins of this team.

That spirit was clearly visible when Max Warn potted his fifth goal of the season to cancel out Alexander Bumagin’s opener. And it could be seen in the second period when Miika Lahti, the team leader for assists, got his first ever KHL goal to tie Kristaps Sotnieks’ power play effort.

The game remained deadlocked until the 58th minute and Kunlun’s power play was struggling to find a way through Lada’s PK until Chad Rau produced a defense-splitting pass for Warn right on the slot and ready to unleash a one-timer that gave the goalie no chance. Having failed to heed that first-period Warn-ing, Lada was sunk as Max took his tally to six goals and six assists for the season.

Victory here lifts Kunlun’s win ratio to 50% - eight wins and eight losses, all of them in regulation. It’s a record that keeps the team firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot in its debut season.

There are more bright spots: Janna Jalasvaara returned after injury, while Martin Bakos and Alexei Ponikarovsky are also making good progress in the treatment room. Meanwhile, the season continues with a trip to Nizhnekamsk to play Neftekhimik before wrapping up this road trip in Kazan, home of the mighty Ak Bars.